Welcome to HKU Faculty of Architecture. Whether you are a new or existing student, alumnus, researcher, teacher, industry collaborator or just a curious visitor, I hope that you will find inspiration in these Web pages. I was very proud recently to receive a letter from the authoritative QS university rankings agency announcing that our Faculty is ranked 13th in the world, especially so since the QS methodology gives a high weighting to reputation, measured from a survey of employers and academics.
This is an exciting time to be associated with the Faculty. We have re-launched our research and knowledge exchange activities as the HKUrbanLab, bringing together researchers from architecture, conservation, construction and real estate, landscape and urban planning and design to work together to answer big urban research and design questions facing society. We are building five new specialist labs filled with state-of-the-art technology to support this work (Sustainable High Density Cities; Healthy High Density Cities; Smart High Density Cities; 5D-Building Information Modelling Lab; Architectural Conservation Lab). We are also building a new architectural gallery and heavy architectural construction workshop and have set up three new architectural research centres.
We research and teach using specialist labs but we also live in a laboratory. HK and the Pearl River Delta, home to a population approaching 100 million, is arguably the greatest experiment in city building that human civilization has ever embarked upon. We study, research, learn and teach at its epicenter.
Having been training Hong Kong and the regions’ architectural leaders for over 60 years, we now provide undergraduate, masters and doctoral education across the built environment subjects, with BSc degrees in architecture, architectural conservation, landscape, surveying and urban studies and 11 specialist and professional masters courses. Our 1300 students are taught by some of the very best teachers, researchers and professionals in the world.
Students learn in and out of the classroom; in Hong Kong, in Mainland China and beyond. Our Shanghai Study Centre, based in the grand neo-classical 1930s Shanghai Central Post Office on the Shanghai’s iconic Bund, provides a learning and meeting space for undergraduates from our own faculty and from our partner universities from around the world. Since Hong Kong and Shanghai are two of the most energetic and advanced cities on the planet, we also think that our students should experience what it is like to be young urban professionals working in a city at the other extreme. Studio Myanmar is a ten year programme of studios and research projects aimed at capacity building in Myanmar, which expose our students and teachers to global citizenship challenges.
Our Architects, Landscape Architects and Urban Designers are inspirational designers, pushing boundaries in the way we imagine and shape buildings and cities for the next generation. We are home to leading urban social scientists, architectural historians, urban theorists and sustainability scientists. Our special blend of subjects and methodologies gives us the opportunity to re-invent urban professional scholarship, research and teaching; promoting design as a unique form of normative intervention, while retaining the very best of scientific, arts and humanities scholarly traditions. This is brilliantly exemplified by the Ronald Coase Centre for Property Rights Research, one of four centres internationally that carry the name and personal endorsement of the Nobel Prize-winning economist. Why did a Chicago-based celebrity economist endorse a HKU Faculty of Architecture centre? Because he recognized that architects, planners, urban economists and other urban professionals and scholars are at the forefront of tackling some of civilization’s most pressing resource allocation problems, including shaping living-working habitats for centuries to come.