Founded in 1912, The University of Hong Kong is the leading and oldest tertiary institute in Hong Kong. In the early years, the University was host to four Faculties: Arts, Engineering, Medicine and Science. The late 1940’s and the 1950’s were characterized by the city’s dramatic expansion due to emigration from China and the needs of the industry. The Department of Architecture was first introduced into the University in 1950, under the Deanship of Professor R. Gordon Brown. The first five-year Degree of Bachelor of Architecture was awarded in 1955. In 1958, Professor W. G. Gregory was appointed Dean until the School was amalgamated into the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture in the same year. Professional recognition of the degree was granted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1961 and joint visitations ran parallel with the Commonwealth Architects Association (CAA), the Architect’s Registration Council of the United Kingdom (ARCUK) and the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA). CAA recognition was received in 1968. Graduate studies in architecture resulted in the first PhD and MPhil degrees being awarded in 1969 and 1970 respectively.
Structural shifts within the school in the intervening years reflected the increased complexities and specialization of the studies of architecture and building within the city. A consequence of this was the establishment of two branches, namely Architecture and Building. In 1975, the five-year undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) was reconfigured into two three-year undergraduate degrees – these were the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BA) and the Bachelor of Science in Building Studies (BS). The first BA and BS degrees were conferred in 1970 and 1978 respectively. Professional post-graduate two-year Bachelor of Architecture degree and a one-year Bachelor of Building degree were offered after the completion of the three-year undergraduate degree. The Bachelor of Building degree was recognized by both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS).
In 1976, Mr H. G. Hollmann was appointed Head of the Department until Professor K. C. Lye was appointed Chair Professor and Head in September of the same year. Professor K.C. Lye was the first overseas-appointed Head who originated from the region. He also moved the Department of Architecture from its association with the Faculty of Engineering to an independent School of Architecture. In the following decades, master architects such as Buckminister Fuller, I.M. Pei, F. Maki, Richard Rogers, Harry Seidler, Charles Correa, Charles Jencks, B.V.Doshi, Paul Rudolph, K. Kurokawa and Toyo Ito visited and lectured at the Department.
In 1984, the Department suffered a catastrophic fire which damaged the entire third and fourth floor of Knowles Building at the main campus. The entire Department moved back to its original base at the Duncan Sloss Building at the western campus in Pokfulam. The reinstatement took over a year and a half and in August of the following year, the Department moved back to the Knowles Building where it still resides.
In the same year, Professor Lye was elected Dean (as well as serving as Head of the Department of Architecture) and oversaw the change of the School of Architecture to a Faculty which was responsible for two Departments and an affiliation with a Centre. These were the Department of Architecture, the Department of Building and the Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning.
The Department of Building was established in 1984 to consolidate the importance of land development in the context of the Faculty. It offered a three-year Bachelor of Building Program which was changed in 1985 to a four-year Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying Program. This was followed by the re-naming of the Department of Building to the Department of Surveying in 1987. The Bachelor of Science in Quantity Surveying was superseded in 1988 by the Bachelor of Science in Surveying. The first Chair and Head of the Department of Surveying was Professor A. Walker who took up his post in 1985. Subsequently, Mr K.G. McKinnell was elected Head in 1992.
The Master of Urban Design (MUD) Degree in the Department of Architecture was implemented in 1988 to consolidate the growing interest in urban design issues. This was a reflection of the raising profile of Hong Kong as a leading Asian city as well as a financial/economic center.
In 1990, Mr B. F. Will was elected Dean of the Faculty. The two-year post-graduate BArch course was reformulated in 1992 into a new MArch curriculum. This change enabled students in the master’s program to specialize in Architectural History and Theory, Architectural Management or Architectural Technology and CAAD. Student design competitions became an integral part of the first year Master’s studio and the resultant awards won by the students in subsequent years were unprecedented.
The Master of Landscape Architecture program was implemented in 1993 with accreditation given by the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects in 1995. U.K.’s Landscape Institute also recognized the degree in the same year.
In 1996, The Department of Surveying was re-named as the Department of Real Estate and Construction which centered upon the establishment of the areas of general practice surveying, building surveying and quantity surveying. The Department now offers professionally accredited undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Surveying (with options in Economics or Finance), post-graduate Master of Science in Construction Project Management, Master of Science in Real Estate, Postgraduate Conversion Programs and Postgraduate Research degrees of MPhil and PhD.
In 1996, Professor P. S. S. Lau was elected Head of the Department of Architecture. The first group of exchange students was sent to universities in France and Switzerland in 1997. This was also the year that saw the launch of Career Discovery in Architecture, a summer program that targets secondary school students who may have an interest in architecture. In 1999, Professor T. Kvan was elected Dean.
Between the years 1994-1999, MArch students from the Department of Architecture consistently won awards and prizes in international student architectural competitions as well as in design competitions. Students of the MLA program also won awards for their entries in an international competition. Visiting professors and architects during this period included Professors Geoffrey Broadbent, Lars Lerup, Jerzy Wojtowicz, Bruno Roberto Padovano, Arnold Korte, Tom Maver, Lin Yun, Jan Wampler, Robert Stern, Alan Plattus, Chris MacDonald, Stefan Wrona and Architects Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Christian de Portzamparc, Ronald Altoon, Manuel Vicente and Kazuyo Sejima.
The year 2000 was the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Architecture. In the same year, Professor R.B. Frewer was named Head and Chair Professor of the Department. Concurrently, the post-graduate Architectural Conservation Program (ACP) was established with the support of UNESCO under the Department of Architecture. It leads to a foundation Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation and an advanced Master of Science in Conservation; research Ph.D. studies are also offered. The program addresses the growing need of the region for an expertise in the area of built-heritage conservation. The Master of Interdisciplinary Design and Management was introduced in 2002 for mid-careered professionals wanting to pursue/up-date their knowledge of current issues within the design/engineering fields.
In the year 2000, Professor K.W.Chau was made Chair Professor of the Department of Real Estate and Construction. He was also elected Dean of the Faculty in 2002. In the same year, Professor D.P.Y. Lung was elected as Head of Architecture. Mr H.F. Leung was elected in 2003 as Head of the Department of Real Estate and Construction followed by Dr Daniel C.W. Ho in 2006.
In early 2006, Professor R. Lerner was named Dean of the Faculty and the Chair of the Department of Architecture while Mr L.L. Lu was elected as the Head of Architecture. In the fall semester, leading architects and architectural academics/critics such as Professor/Architect Elizabeth Diller, Professors/Architects Todd Williams, Billie Tsien and Professor/Architect Preston Scott Cohen, Professor/Architect Toshiko Mori, Architect Jesse Reiser, Architect Nanako Umemoto, Architect Nasrin Seraji, Architect Itsuko Hasegawa came to the Faculty of Architecture to deliver lectures – often to overflowing lecture theatres.
In 2007, Professor D. P.Y. Lung was made the first Chair Professor for UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage Resources Management.
Following the reorganization of the Centre of Urban Planning and Management in July 2008, the Department of Urban Planning and Design was established in the Faculty to continue the teaching of urban planning, and related areas in housing management and transport, together with urban design that was transferred from the Department of Architecture. Professor A. Yeh was appointed as the Head of the Department. The year 2008 also saw the successful expansion of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program, with the establishment of the Division of Landscape Architecture and the change from a biennial to annual intake of students. This paved the way for the development of the new undergraduate program, Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies BA(AS) major in Landscape Architecture which received UGC approval in June 2008. Mr L.H.C. Chen was appointed as the Head of the Division.
In early 2009, Mr J.D. Solomon and Dr S. W. Poon were appointed as Acting Heads of the Department of Architecture and the Department of Real Estate and Construction respectively.
Currently, the Faculty of Architecture offers programs in its three departments and one division that cover breadth and depth in the professional as well as the academic research fields of Architecture, Real Estate and Construction, Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture.
The Department of Architecture offers the undergraduate program of Bachelor of Architectural Studies and the accredited professional program of Master of Architecture. The Department also offers Masters Program in Conservation and Postgraduate Research degrees of MPhil and PhD.
The Department of Real Estate and Construction offers the professionally accredited undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Surveying (with options in Economics or Finance), the Post-graduate Master of Science in Construction Project Management, Master of Science in Real Estate, and Master of Interdisciplinary Design and Management and Postgraduate Research degrees of MPhil and PhD.gram in Conservation and Postgraduate Research degrees of MPhil and PhD.
The Department of Urban Planning and Design offers the Bachelor and Masters of Science in Housing Management. It also offers other Masters Programs including the Master of Urban Design, the Master of Science in Urban Planning and the Master of Arts in Transport Policy and Planning. MPhil and PhD degrees are also offered.
The Division of Landscape Architecture offers the Bachelor of Arts in Landscape Architecture, the Master of Landscape Architecture and Postgraduate Research degrees of MPhil and PhD.