AIA 2021 – Serve & Inspire
Dear Members and Friends
With Spring well underway, we have made some headway on several initiatives this year. This newsletter is a brief update ahead of our First Quarterly Meeting next month, date to be announced in an upcoming EDM.
for young members and aspiring architects
PATH TO LICENSURE
We kicked off the year with our Becoming an Architect webinar, when our Young Architect’s Group (YAG) chair, Hinki Kwong, spoke to 57 students from The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Chu Hai College of Higher Education and City University of Hong Kong on becoming US licensed architects. The presentation was followed by a discussion with Su Chang, Dennis Cheung and Josely Lam on their experiences of M. Arch programs in the US. The Q&A session was particularly lively as the three speakers had graduated from local undergraduate programs themselves and could relate well to our audience.
Many students showed keen interest in pursuing professional development and registration in the US and this has even sparked interest in renewals in our student membership category.
From this group of students, we were able to launch the YAG mentorship program with an inaugural batch of 70 mentees and 15 mentors. Hinki Kwong led the hour-long icebreaker where mentors and mentees got to ‘mingle’ in a virtual landscape. Many thanks to our mentors for heeding our call to serve, and we look forward to hearing more as the program progresses this year.
The 2-hour long webinar attracted 2,000 viewers across various social platforms and is currently the most-watched video in AIA Hong Kong’s history. The webinar gave a detailed breakdown of the architectural and structural quality of Bishop Hill. Heritage leaders shared their insights on how old buildings are being evaluated, in Hong Kong and overseas, on both their cultural and architectural merit. The presentation also addressed many questions about the complicated process of heritage assessment and showed a potential future for the protection of Bishop Hill as part of the water supply infrastructure in Kowloon.
TECHNICAL WORKSHOP SERIES:
As part of our technical workshop series, Eugenio Fontan from Graphisoft shared insights on the latest BIM trends and best practices. For those who missed this primer, the recording will be made available on our YouTube channel. Eugenio was back on March 23rd and 25th with two deep-dive workshops on “sustainable project development” and “BIM in 100 clicks,” respectively, for anyone who was interested in energy modeling and learning more about Archicad – and two more sessions are scheduled for May. Hopefully, at least one of these can take place at our PMQ Chapter Office. Again, we are using a Doodle survey after the March sessions where you can tell us what you’d like to learn by casting your vote on a topic of interest – so make sure you stay until the end and let us know!
Separately, we are excited to advise that Autodesk has joined our Corporate Affiliate program. We are working with their team for BIM training sessions and webinars on several URA heritage case studies (Central Market and the Shanghai Street Project), artificial intelligence and generative design.
FIRST PROJECTS WITH PAUL TSE AND EVELYN TING
Paul and Evelyn from New Office Works (NOW) kicked off the First Projects series with a candid account of their journey from school to practice. If you have visited the Growing Up pavilion, the office’s winning entry in the Hong Kong Young Architects & Designers Competition, you will have appreciated this talk as the duo retraced the development of their ideas and design vocabularies through a balance of research, competition and commissioned work.
We found the “Middle Man Hong Kong” video essays a particularly inspiring example of self-initiated projects that are just as important to forming a practice as paid commissions. Supported by Design Trust, the video essays take a fresh look at Hong Kong’s urbanity through the lens of architecture, offering key takeaways that underline the studio’s approach to their later work.
BUILDING TOUR at the STATE THEATRE
A warm thank you to Jeff Tung and Winnie Yeung of New World Development for giving us a stellar tour of the State Theatre on King’s Road. Winnie and Jeff reanimated the building and the neighborhood’s transformation over the last 70 years, virtually peeling off layers of the facade in the internal arcade as we went back in time from the retail outlets and billiards halls of the 1990s to its glorious origins as a premier theatre destination in the late ’50s. The project is scheduled to reopen in 2026, and we will arrange several more tours between now and then, so do stay tuned.
Due to the recurring spike/s in COVID numbers, however, EXCO has decided to take precautionary measures and postpone physical gatherings in the month of April during which time the Programs Committee will review the touring capacity of our proposed venue list. Conditions permitting, our goal is to begin reintroducing building tours in small groups of 4, starting in May.
Welcome Ivan Mak, who has joined our Communications Committee and will be managing the Chapter’s LinkedIn Account. Together with Catherine Kao on Instagram, Scott Brooks, our Communications Committee Chair, and Peter Basmajian as our copy-editor, I think we are in good hands to tell the stories we have to share this year!
CHAPTER OFFICE UPGRADES
Last but not least, to better serve our membership and to enable greater participation in the broader community and, possibly, from other regions in the near future, we have embarked on three important IT upgrades, including a centralized, searchable communication channel for all committees, cloud accounting, and modernization of our website infrastructure. Many thanks to Chapter secretary Sung Won Lee for leading these efforts on Microsoft Teams for committee work, our Treasurer, Caroline Chou, for working with Fresh Accounting on Xero, and our office manager, Clare Huang, for implementing these updates!