AIA Hong Kong

AIA Hong Kong – July 2020 Newsletter


Updates from EXCO


Dear members,

Unfortunately, with the recent resurgence of the coronavirus our summer party and building tours planned for July and August must be rescheduled to later in the year.

While COVID-19 continues to impact our physical gatherings, we have actively sought partnerships with other institutes, including USGBC, Asia Society and AIA International Region, to allow us to continue to deliver high quality programs in the coming quarter.

Last week we announced a design competition with Light Be to redesign their communal space for at-risk families and we will host another webinar on facade coatings on the 28th July.

In August, we have lectures planned on social housing, landscape design and rooftop edible gardening. In September, the USGBC online symposium will partner with famous design practices to present their latest LEED buildings and designs.

Finally, there will be a special discount for submissions to our Honors & Awards program this year due to COVID-19. Please plan ahead to submit before the deadline of August 31.


Second Quarter Highlights


As noted above, the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus led us to suspend all in-person events since February this year. As a result, our Programs Committee and Chapter Leadership shifted focus to allow us to continue to bring educational events to our members through a series of online panels and webinars.

We kicked off the second quarter’s programs on April 28th with Hello Fellow with Moira Moser.

In addition to an impromptu tour of the M Moser offices in Hong Kong, Moira shared her experience of and philosophy on global practice, with an emphasis on difficult times like these. If you missed it live, a recording of the event is on our YouTube channel:




On May 14th we hosted a panel discussion on Co-Living.  Co-Living by LOD. This first webinar in our Co-X Series featured Yimei Chan, Design Principal of LOD Space, and Doris Hsu of Ascott, sharing overviews of projects in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou, as well as their insights on adapting existing/historical buildings to new modes of social activity. A recording of the discussion is available on our YouTube channel:




In the second instalment of our Co-X series on May 28th, we hosted a panel discussion with past Chapter president, Peter Basmajian, and two innovative co-working operators, Jacky Yeung of Desk-one, and Alex Shu of T.H.E Design. Our panelists discussed the evolution of work place design, strategies to adapt in a fast-changing environment, and efforts to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. A recording of this webinar is available on our YouTube channel:




On June 15th AIA Hong Kong and Asia Society Hong Kong Center co-presented Architecture as Vision: A Conversation with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. In addition to presenting an overview of their current projects – including the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago and the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center – Billie and Tod shared their thoughts on the evolution of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, from their initial impressions of the site 20 years ago, through transformation of the abandoned military structures into a cultural landmark. A recording of the discussion is available on the Asia Society’s YouTube channel:


The Obama Presidential Center, Courtesy of the Obama Foundation



On June 23rd we held the third instalment of our Co-X Webinar Series: Smart Learning with Steelcase. Steelcase Education Director APAC, Ambroise d’Hauteville, and Regional Education Specialist, Owen Pescod, shared valuable insights on the rise of interactive learning and how the need for smart learning spaces is reshaping interior layouts. You can watch their presentation here:




Our final event of the quarter was a panel discussion on June 30th with Ir Carmen Chu and Lian Duan, both of Arup, moderated by Greg Yager, FAIA, covering fast-moving trends that are shaping transport systems globally: Emerging Mobility Trends for a Resilient Urban System. The panel and our members engaged in an interesting debate on the history and future of transportation in city planning. To view this webinar click here:



Citizen Architects


Paul Tse, AIA


Like other major cities in the world, many elderly in Hong Kong are being sent to care homes due to severely limited living space at their children’s / relative’s homes and because they often require a higher level of care than family members are capable of providing. Hong Kong faces the added challenge of extremely high density living conditions where most care homes are adaptively re-used (existing) buildings rather than purpose-built facilities. Many of the older care homes, in particular, have rooms that can only accommodate a single bed and bedside table, making them less “rooms” than mere cubicles. As local regulations require beds to be positioned within 9 m of windows to ensure sufficient day-lighting, the result is that communal areas – where most social interaction takes place – often occupy leftover spaces deep inside the floor, without direct sunlight and natural ventilation.

Despite these poor living conditions, private elderly care homes are usually more than 80% occupied, if not more. In recent years, although more operators recognise that the quality of the living environment has an impact on the well-being of the elderly, the enormous rental pressure still means prioritising the number of beds, in order to make ends meet, over considerations of space, light and other amenities. The operator, the landlord and the government all share responsibility for enacting change – but what about the role of the architect?

Sometimes, change begins in the smallest details. What aspects of elderly homes can architects re-think to improve the lives of residents the most, on a daily basis?  Warmer materials might increase the sense of comfort, providing spaces with individuality and privacy while encouraging an active collective life; diffused and indirect lighting would avoid glare while residents are lying in bed. The cruel reality of our aging population means that hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong elderly will likely spend the rest of their lives in a care home.

While the larger housing crisis may not be solved anytime soon, the need for a space where one can live his or her last years with dignity, both as an individual and as a collective, should not be a mere luxury.



Citizen Engineers



Seeding love and knowledge: a return visit to Yunnan Chuansi Village Arup SA-PH Primary School


Arup has been supporting Sowers Action since 2015 to support community identified needs. In 2018, the firm part-funded the construction of Arup Sowers School – Chuansi Village Arup SA-PH Primary School (串絲村奧雅納苗圃希望小學) and it is now home to more than 400 children from nearby villages. Last November, a team of 11 Arup volunteers returned to the school with a mission: to establish a library to foster a reading culture.

During the visit the volunteers took turns in setting up the library: the team successfully unpacked, categorised, and shelved over 6,500 books in just three days! The library was decorated and arranged so the students can sit and read comfortably. A sharing session was held to train the teachers and student librarians how to operate the book system, and, more importantly, how knowledge management could create a reading culture among the children. The team also hosted Photography, English, Story-telling and Game classes.

Finally, Arup donated one thousand jackets to less fortunate children in remote areas in China through Sowers Action’s jacket donation programme – Sowers Sending Love. The jackets were distributed to the students on the last day of the visit, and they couldn’t wait to put them on. Before leaving the school, long lines were formed to get autographs from our volunteers. “I was amazed by how welcoming and passionate the students were even though we were complete strangers to them. Working together with the students and colleagues from different offices was a very memorable experience. We definitely do shape a better world!” said one of the volunteers.



Our Corporate Affiliates


5 facts about co-working spaces by JEB

Co-working spaces have been transforming the modern workforce and its values. It has grown from a small room into a tremendous industry that is expanding worldwide. The concept of co-working spaces fosters an entrepreneurial spirit that enhances innovation and creativity.

Below are 5 facts about co-working spaces:

  1. There are currently 13,800 co-working spaces in the world

According to the 2017 Global Co-working Survey, there are currently 13,800 co-working spaces worldwide.Over the past five years, the number of co-working spaces has grown at a rate of 200% and will likely continue to increase.

  1. Core memberships are small businesses and freelancers

Based on the 2017 industry survey conducted by the Global Workspace Association, about 47% of co-working spaces members are from small businesses, 20% are freelancers and, 12% are mobile corporate users.

  1. Open Office ≠ Co-working Space

Open space doesn’t correlate with co-working spaces. The majority of co-working spaces offer private meeting rooms for individuals or teams. Co-working spaces aim towards building a balanced unconventional space.

  1. Co-working space market on a rise

In 2017, GCUC released a co-working forecast regarding the rapid growth that will occur in the next five years.GCUC mentions that “We expect the number of co-working members will grow from 1.74 million in 2017 to 5.1 million in 2022.

  1. Co-working impacts Asia-Pacific Region immensely

Landlords in Asia-Pacific are starting to compete against co-working operators, offering flexible workspace to the market.Swire Properties, the giant property developer in Hong Kong has also set up its own co-working space: Blueprint.




Glen Raven/Sunbrella on Sustainability


One key way designers of restaurants, hotels, spas and even retail locations keep visitors engaged is by responding to top trends in hospitality interior design. Sustainability is more than just a passing fancy for all design industries, and it continues to be one of the top trends in hotel interior design and hospitality interior design at large. Commercial interior designers for hospitality are incorporating durable materials so that an interior won’t need to be renovated or refreshed as quickly. Sunbrella Contract fabrics are a perfect fit for those design projects. Engineered to last through years of high-traffic use, they are also manufactured in a way that honors the environment. For example, says Greg Rosendale, Director, Distribution and A&D for Sunbrella, “With the Recycle My Sunbrella program, instead of throwing away Sunbrella fabrics they’re ready to retire, customers can send back their materials to be recycled.” It’s the ultimate example of sustainability and manufacturer eco-responsibility.


At the Alila SCBD resort, guests are treated to delicious meals in captivating indoor and outdoor spaces designed with Sunbrella Contract fabrics.

Sunbrella Contract fabrics bring comfort and relaxation to the and Beyond Tengile River Lodge in South Africa.