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AIA Hong Kong – March President’s Message

Dear AIA HK Members and Friends,

Greetings from AIA Hong Kong, hope you had a great start the year of the Goat! I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on some on the things the Chapter has been involved in over the past month. Following the successful tour of JCCAC and SCAD in January, we organized the tour of the Central Police Station (CPS) in February. As you know CPS is a prominent heritage site for adaptive reuse that is scheduled to be open in mid-2016. Unfortunately I missed the tour as I was still in India, due to personal reasons. However, as expected, I heard that members found the tour very interesting, learning about the design and construction challenges, and were also given a preview of what is to come at the CPS. It also served as an occasion for participants to get together with Grover Dear (past President), Nelson Chen (past President) and others.

I just got back from the national Grassroots conference that was held in Washington DC from March 4-6, 2015, which was an opportunity for AIA Hong Kong to connect with AIA National leadership. I am glad to say that Catherine Wong, Executive Secretary AIA Hong Kong Chapter, joined me. I am sure it was exciting for her to visit the US for the first time, and an eye opener for her to see first-hand the scale of AIA, with its over 82,000 members worldwide. This was also an occasion to meet our AIA International Region (AIA IR), the President of which is our very own Christine Bruckner (past President of AIA Hong Kong). We also attended the AIA IR Awards Exhibition that was held during the AIA Open House at the organization’s headquarters.

Please note that next year, the AIA Grassroots conference will be split into two events, one focused on Leadership in Detroit in February 2016, and the other focused on Advocacy in Washington D.C. in July 2016. Another thing that caught my attention is a successful annual Leadership Course organized by the AIA Washington D.C. Chapter, to train emerging professionals and the next generation of architects as leaders. This is something we may consider to offer here in Hong Kong in the future..

Back here in Hong Kong, in March we started off with lighting design expert Charles Stone, hosting his Lecture on Cultural Light: The Instinctive and the Indigenous. Many thanks to Peter Basmajian (past President) and Kenneth Hau, Vice President (President Elect 2016), who took charge to organize this event in my absence. The event was well attended and very inspiring, thanks to a thoughtful presentation by Charles. It was a great opportunity to also get to know him more at the post-event dinner. The lecture was hosted at the offices of Ronald Lu and Partners; a big thank you goes out to Ron Lu, Bryant Lu and their team.

More recently we also organized the PMQ tour, guided by William Tsang, Project Architect from ArchSD, with PMQ as our host. The tour was one of the best I have attended; it was great to hear about the design and implementation process involved, and about how PMQ was realised overcoming challenges of budget limitations and regulatory aspects. It was good to see Nicholas and Margaret Brooke, among others, and we had an intimate and interactive session as a result of the small group that attended. For those who missed this chance, we will organize another PMQ tour at a later date, perhaps an evening event followed by drinks nearby. It is great to see that not only is PMQ the home of AIA Hong Kong, but that it has become a vibrant destination for arts, culture, and more.

Mark your diaries, as rest of March and April is packed with interesting, informative and fun events; please join us at AIA HK.

We will be hosting the Young Architects Group (YAG) Inaugural Gathering, this Thursday, March 19., Please register if you have not already. Many thanks to Robert Wall, who believes in this cause, and has stepped up to sponsor the event at JEB showroom. I hope you grab this chance to enjoy a fun evening while joining emerging architects in conversation with more established veterans, about the future of the profession, and also about the role of architects in the shaping of better cities. We have also invited members from other organizations — HKIA, HKIUD, HKIP, ULI, RIBA etc — so hopefully you will meet others in related industries. At the National Level, the Young Architects Forum (YAF) will be a valuable resource as we grow Hong Kong’s YAG, and can be a platform to share our experience at the next Grassroots conference.

Upcoming events in April include the following:

  • Our first event at PMQ, which we call our “Quarterly”, shall take place on April 14. We shall host this jointly with PMQ, and in keeping with our 2015 theme of Architecture and Cities, the Quarterly will focus on the “Cultural Triangle”: a platform to discuss how PMQ, CPS, and the Central Market can come together to create a Cultural Precinct in Central.
  • The Indian Chamber of Commerce, ICCHK, will host a cocktail event on April 15, with Hon. Prashant Agrawal, Consul General of India will speak at the event. A great opportunity to know more about India; and taste some Indian food, too.

A tour of the Tai O Heritage Hotel in west Lantau Island shall be held on April 18, organized jointly by the Sino Group and the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation. This unique tour should be both interesting and relaxing.

May I take this opportunity to thank the current Leadership team and Committee Chairs, members, Corporate Members and Sponsors for your continued support. Welcome to Sylvester Wong of Catalyscity and Scott Brooks of Imagennix who joined as Co Chairs of Communication Committee, stay tuned for some new initiatives on this front. Glenn Wing (past President), originally on the Honors & Awards Committee, has taken up a new position in Manila; we wish him good luck on his new job and adventure. I am pleased to announce that Brian Jan of Meridian Capital (HK) Limited and Eddie Tsui of Nam Tai Property Inc., have stepped up to join the Honors & Awards Committee as Co-Chairs, and shall work with Gregory Leong to organize both the program and our signature Awards event, likely be hosted in October.

Thanks to the team and a dedicated staff at AIA Hong Kong, we have managed to line up a great list of events and activities. I look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming events, and I welcome you to join a committee, get more involved this year, and make a difference. Let’s work together to make this 2015 and Year of the Goat a great one, and lay the foundation for a fantastic year in 2016 and beyond.

Sujata S. Govada, PhD, Assoc. AIA, AICP, HKIUD, HKIP, LEED AP

2015 President, AIA Hong Kong Chapter