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HKU Architecture Department: Public Lecture by Nezar AlSayyad

Lecture Synopsis:

Tahrir Square became a household name around the globe during the events of the Arab “spring” in 2011. The events of that year signaled the return of public space to arena of politics. This lecture will look at the spaces of the Arab uprisings and focus on the relationship between their virtual and physical spaces. It is particularly concerned with the spatial and temporal dimensions of these urban revolts with a particular attention to the interwoven relationship between the social media that organizes the political gatherings and communicated political messages; the practices of protest in urban spaces; and the global and national media coverage of these events. Using case studies from several Middle East Countries, with a focus on Egypt, I will show how the symbolism and the architecture of a particular square has allowed for a success of a social movement. I conclude by suggesting that the reciprocal interactions between urban space, social media, and traditional media coverage, does not simply reproduce the relations between these actors, but it also transforms them incrementally.

Date: October 31, 2014 (Friday)

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Venue: KB419, Knowles Building HKU

Speaker: Nezar AlSayyad

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AIA Hong Kong Chapter Elections 2014

Dear AIA Hong Kong Member,

As you know, AIA Hong Kong is a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is obligated to hold Chapter-wide elections each year for the following positions:

Vice President / President-elect 

Although these positions are voluntary and unpaid, it is important that qualified individuals contribute their time, experience and energy in whatever capacity they can to ensure that the Chapter continues to serve its members effectively.  The AIA relies heavily on the personal involvement and commitment of its members, so we encourage your participation either as an elected Officer or as a member of a Committee based on your area of interest. Note that self-nominations for these positions are also welcome.

Please click here for further details and send the completed Nomination Form(s) to the Chapter Office by 29 October 2014.  Your participation and involvement is greatly appreciated.

On behalf of the AIA Hong Kong Chapter, we thank you in advance for your support.


Christian Low, AIA                                                     Sujata Govada, Assoc. AIA 
AIA Hong Kong Chapter President 2014                     AIA Hong Kong Chapter Vice-president / President-elect 2015

AIA Hong Kong: The Golden Lands by Vikram Lall

Vikram Lall is the author of six books focusing on the architecture of Buddhism and his explorations of ancient and modern sites around the world. In this talk, the writer will present a brief architectural history of Buddhist stupas, temples and monasteries throughout the ages – and through the eyes of an architect. Using stunning photography and 3D diagrams, Lall has documented many historic and living Buddhist monuments in Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and other lesser-known sites in between. Read More>

Great Festival of Creativity at PMQ Hong Kong 2014

The GREAT Festival of Creativity is a vibrant and dynamic celebration of global innovation. The Festival creates iconic, immersive and interactive experiences in cities around the world – and between 18th and 20th November, it will be taking place at PMQ in the heart of Hong Kong.

The Festival will bring together some of the most innovative thinkers, creative minds and global business leaders from the UK and Hong Kong to debate, discuss and explore how creativity and innovation is the life blood of successful businesses.

We will explore the questions businesses need to ask today in order to thrive tomorrow. You will be able to register your attendance at this unique and exclusive event very soon.

Tues 18th Nov: Technology and Innovation
Wed 19th Nov: Future Cities, Healthcare and Education
Thurs 20th Nov: Fashion, Luxury and Entertainment

AIA Hong Kong: Dubai City of Dreams –
A Short Critical History of an Urban Heterotopia

The word “heterotopia” comes from two root words — “hetero” meaning “other” and “topos” meaning place. Philosopher Michael Foucault described spaces that have meanings in addition to its immediate existence as “heterotopia.” The concept refers to the more familiar notion of utopia, which refers to community or society that possesses desirable qualities.

Traditional Dubai architecture offer an understanding of how buildings can be designed in response to the environment and the way of living. Bedouin tent used by the nomad is lightweight and easy to carry. Palm trunks are used as structural support and the main entrance is oriented to avoid prevailing wind. Another typology, the barjeel, features a wind catcher to capture prevailing wind from different angles to creating microclimate.

The nature of Dubai as a heterotopia is reflected in its demographics. According to census, the population of Dubai is disproportionally male and expatriates, which can be explained by the workers who come to the region. Absent history and indigenous culture, Dubai became a sharing society that multi-culturalism is possible.

It is the idea of a place of experimentation, not afraid to invent new language. In the sprawling development, water is thus introduced, and at times taking over, to the desert. Water, so long as it is present, does not matter in its quantity or form. Canals or lagoons are common. In the housing development Jumeirah Islands, clusters of villas are built on small islands in artificial lake. The tallest tower Burj Khalifa, with 163 habitatable floors, has 35,000 people at any time. Infrastructure takes on peculiar dimension in Dubai. Subway stations may be located in the middle of desert. In this unique built environment, Dubai embodies the qualities of a heterotopia of illusion, in which the real space is both physical and mental.

Contributor: Vikki Lew, AIA

AIA Hong Kong – October President’s Message

Dear AIA Members & Friends:

We are reminded by recent events of how interconnected and reliant on each other we all are while living and working in
the compressed urban habitats of Asia.

At the joint AIA Hong Kong / AIA International Region Asian Cities Symposium held on September 22 in Hong
Kong, we enjoyed a wide ranging discourse about what makes our Asian cities livable, resilient, sustainable, culturally connected to our local history, and economically vibrant.
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AIA Hong Kong Chapter
Office Grand Opening Party

AIA Hong Kong, the largest international chapter of the American Institute of Architects, celebrated a milestone on Thursday, 21 August, with the grand opening of its first permanent office since Nelson Chen, FAIA, founded the Chapter in 1997 – the same year that the formerly British colony became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).

Located in the newly renovated and repurposed PMQ Complex straddling Central District’s Hollywood Road and Staunton Street, AIA Hong Kong hosted more than 150 Chapter members, corporate affiliates and guests on an expansive terrace that was once a communal kitchen and dining area for young constables and their families.  The terraced, 0.6 hectare PMQ site was previously home to Central School (a.k.a. Victoria College and later Queen’s College) – Hong Kong’s first Government public school to provide secondary Western education – before the PMQ was established, and informative guided walking tours of the school’s foundations and other architectural remnants were provided prior to the opening celebration.

Providing housing for Hong Kong’s married police officers for the latter half of the 20th century until 2000 when the facility was vacated, Government surveys and investigations of this historic site subsequently revealed noteworthy architecture attributed to the “modern movement,” archaeologically significant granite retaining walls and steps, and more than 2,000 relics ranging from fragments of encaustic ceramic tiles with formed patterns to historic stone foundations from the former Central School.  After the existing structures were designated as Grade 3 Historic Buildings by the Government Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) in 2010, the entire site was earmarked for adaptive reuse by the Government Architectural Services Department (ASD) and it became the new hub for Hong Kong’s creative and design industries in early 2014.

AIA Hong Kong is proud to be situated on a site of architectural and archaeological significance, and to serve as a founding tenant within a successful adaptive reuse project that is consistent with today’s international best practices.

As one of AIA Hong Kong’s best attended events, the Chapter wishes to extend their gratitude to everyone who braved the hot and humid August evening to help us celebrate, and to Chapter Corporate Affiliates Orientop, Betrue and Thicas who generously sponsored the grand opening party. Thanks are also due to William Lim, FAIA, Christian Low, AIA, and J Lee Rofkind, AIA, who spearheaded the effort to secure space for the Chapter in this popular development, in addition to Andrew King, Assoc. AIA, Brian Bessenaire, Assoc. AIA, Kenneth Hau, AIA and J Lee Rofkind, AIA, who were responsible for the design of the premises.

Special thanks are also due to Chapter Executive Secretaries Catherine Wong and Vivian Chan for their continuing hard work and dedication, and, finally, to one of the Chapter’s founding fathers, Grover Dear, FAIA, who made a widely anticipated appearance at this milestone event despite recent personal challenges.

Reflecting upon how the Chapter has grown over the past 17 years — and where it is going – AIA Hong Kong also wishes to thank the many Past Presidents who have carved out space in their own humble offices to serve the Chapter’s administrative needs from 1997 until now.

Finally, we have a permanent home!

AIA Hong Kong members who attended one of the PMQ Walking Tours prior to the Grand Opening Party also received 1.0 LU toward their annual mandatory AIA Continuing Education requirements.

Please note the Chapter’s new address below — and please stop in for a visit when you’re in the neighborhood!

AIA Hong Kong

S602 | Block A | PMQ

35 Aberdeen Street

Central | Hong Kong SAR

Contributor: Thomas Schmidt, AIA