Dear AIA Members & Friends:
Blessed by our placement in Hong Kong at the cross roads of North, East and South East Asia we are constantly surrounded by the important buzz of the design and planning, socio-economic and political influences of our region.
With that backdrop as design professionals we are positioned in the meaningful role of both designing and advocating for more resilient cities, better performing buildings and creating healthier, more inspiring places. As we all know this requires a certain balance of art and science, creativity and technology- often resulting in astounding and innovative results, especially in the hands of the most inspired designers and creative thinkers of our time.
As architects and planners, given our important social, cultural and commercial purpose in advancing this agenda for the benefit of society, it was startling to read recently the pronouncements by the Chinese government that certain buildings, if they create unusual or “non-traditional” building forms, should be outlawed and not permitted to be built in China.
To be fair, some of the building examples cited certainly are strange looking and indeed questionable in terms of form, function and economics; of that, there is no question. In general it goes without saying that we should always advocate for appropriateness and economy of purpose. But what was most concerning about these pronouncements was the implication that design innovation in all forms should be squashed…and that to allow designers to shape our future lives in new ways is inherently dangerous.
Clearly these statements were politically motivated, so one needs to perhaps not take them too seriously. However it does raise the specter of the important and perhaps oft overlooked role we must all play in explaining, educating and advocating the core benefits of design innovation to our cities, governments and our neighbors.
And with that in mind this promises to be a wonderful fall season for us as design professionals in the region, as we get out into the public eye to express ourselves, share our insights and learn from each other’s forward looking design ideas.
The Business of Design Week (BODW) will be in town at the end of the month, showcasing the work and insights of design luminaries from all around the world. And of course our Chapter will be celebrating the design accomplishments of our members at our November 14 Honors & Awards Reception and again at our International Region Awards Dinner on November 19. The DETOUR design innovation program will be running events around Hong Kong, including a special event in collaboration with the AIA and RIBA at the PMQ on December 3. And we will hold the 3rd lecture of our 2014 series on Design Innovation and Advanced Materials on December 4th.
I look forward to seeing you all at these events between now and the end of the year. Please remember to check our website frequently at www.aiahk.org to keep informed about upcoming Chapter events as well as a number of other related activities which we support.
With warm regards,
2014 President – AIA Hong Kong Chapter – Christian Low, AIA