The AIA Hong Kong Chapter inaugurated the first AIA Young Architects Group outside of the United States in March 2015. Mission of the YAG is to create the support system to address specific challenges of young architects, regardless where we are in the world. The event started with a social mixer of young architects and established architects. The panel highlights the fresh perspectives and unique challenges faced by the current generation of young architects. Vikki Lew, AIA and Chair of the Young Architects Group, introduced year-long program addressing key challenges of young architects working in global context, including mentoring, ARE study group, and emerging technologies. Four Associate AIAs presented diverse journeys in architecture.
Kevin Lim, Assoc. AIA, and Caroline Chou, Assoc. AIA and co-chair of YAG, are both US trained architects and moved back to establish their design studio, openUU. They worked on projects on various scales in Hong Kong and China, ranging from small art installations, such as Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale installations, Free Space Parkour Dance Venue for West Kowloon, to an overseas installation in Los Angeles for Hong Kong Tourism Board to promote Hong Kong. Andrew King, Assoc. AIA, is an associate at Handel Architects, and received his M.Arch from Savannah College of Art and Design and B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern. While he was at DLN Architects, he worked on a large-scaled residential/commercial development that includes eight residential towers, retail spaces, sales office, underground parking, and luxury villas. Brian Bessenaire, Assoc. AIA, worked at the offices of RTKL, Handel Architects, UNStudio, and Atkins in Beijing and Hong Kong. He contributed on various projects ranging from urban planning in China, a range of Shangri-La hotels, to a metro station design in Qatar. Andrew and Brian also teamed up and volunteered their time to design the current AIA HK Chapter’s new office, which is located in PMQ in Hong Kong.
In the dialogue between emerging and established architects, Rex Wong, AIA, encouraged young architects to embrace politics, such as serving on government boards to cast a difference. Jason Carlow, Assoc. AIA, refers to the challenge of time and cost-consciousness in Asia as architects respond to the demands. William Lim, FAIA, talked about the younger generation’s luxury of moving around after 3-4 years, compared to more conventional path that one would just work as architect. He challenged the young architects “what if you stay?” Grover Dear, FAIA, shared his experience of establishing a career in Asia, encouraged young architects to take the uncertain path and be open to new, unexpected experience. Dr. Christine Bruckner, FAIA, architects’ core competence of problem-solving and have the flexibility to go into different directions. No wonder architects are always young at heart, always with the opportunities of looking at problems in fresh perspectives.
Contributors: Vikki Lew, AIA, Chair of YAG; and Caroline Chou, Assoc. AIA, Co-chair of YAG