All posts by Ng Lun Hung

Rocco Yim

Interview with Rocco Yim, architect of the Hong Kong Palace Museum

Distinguished alumnus and Adjunct Professor Rocco Yim (BAAS 1974; BArch 1976; Hon DSocSc 2013), Principal of Rocco Design Architects, is the mastermind behind the design of the newly opened Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) at the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).

In his interview with the HKU Alumni News, Rocco shares his vision and philosophy for designing the landmark museum, which displays more than 900 artefacts from the Palace Museum in Beijing, as well as antiquities from HKU’s University Museum and Art Gallery. The award-winning architect also reflects on how the city of Hong Kong has become both a challenge and an inspiration for his design, as he guides through the museum space in the following videos:

The Alumni News also features other architecture alumni and professors in the M+ collection at WKCD:

Cecilia Book Launch

New Book – Building Colonial Hong Kong by Cecilia L Chu

Cecilia Book Launch

New Book –

Building Colonial Hong Kong: Speculative Development and Segregation in the City by Cecilia L. Chu, has just been published in Routledge’s Planning, History and Environment Series.


In the 1880s, Hong Kong was a booming colonial entrepôt, with many European, especially British, residents living in palatial mansions in the Mid-Levels and at the Peak. But it was also a ruthless migrant city where Chinese workers shared bedspaces in the crowded tenements of Taipingshan. Despite persistent inequality, Hong Kong never ceased to attract different classes of sojourners and immigrants, who strived to advance their social standing by accumulating wealth, especially through land and property speculation.

In this engaging and extensively illustrated book, Cecilia L. Chu retells the ‘Hong Kong story’ by tracing the emergence of its ‘speculative landscape’ from the late nineteenth to the early decades of the twentieth century. Through a number of pivotal case studies, she highlights the contradictory logic of colonial urban development: the encouragement of native investment that supported a housing market, versus the imperative to segregate the populations in a hierarchical, colonial spatial order. Crucially, she shows that the production of Hong Kong’s urban landscapes was not a top-down process, but one that evolved through ongoing negotiations between different constituencies with vested interests in property. Further, her study reveals that the built environment was key to generating and attaining individual and collective aspirations in a racially divided, highly unequal, but nevertheless upwardly mobile, modernizing colonial city.

The book is now available in hardback and as an eBook (the paperback version will be available in 2023). For Chinese readers, a translated version will be available from The Commercial Press (H.K.) Ltd. soon. You can download the Preview of the book here.

QS World University Rankings 2022

QS World University Rankings 2022 for Architecture and Built Environment

In the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, HKU FoA retains its global ranking at 14th in the field of Architecture and Built Environment, while rated 4th in Asia and the best-performing in Hong Kong. We have been consistently ranked in the world’s top 15 over the past seven years.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject is a major global league table for higher education. Their rankings are based on analyses of academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. More information:

MArch graduate won at RIBA’s Ideas and Sketches Students Competition

MArch graduate won at RIBA’s Ideas and Sketches Students Competition 2021

Maxwell Lau Ho Chuen (MArch 2021) has won in the RIBA’s Ideas and Sketches Students Competition 2021 (Asia & Australasia region) for his project ‘2061 Pabulum Odyssey’.

With the theme of ‘Reimagining Cities and Towns Post-COVID’, the Competition invited architecture students worldwide to propose ideas for designing buildings and cities/towns of the future as we emerge from the pandemic. A total of 73 entries were received from 20 schools across four international regions: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe, Middle East & Africa.

‘2061 Pabulum Odyssey’ is the winner of the Asia & Australasia region. In response to Hong Kong’s frequent dine-in bans during COVID-19, the project envisions a machine-dominant future of eating out and serving food via drones, facilitated by a drone port transformed from the Kwun Tong MTR station, above which is a centralised robotic restaurant tower built for food preparation, cooking, and virtual dining.

‘2061 Pabulum Odyssey’ is commended by the Evaluation Panel as ‘progressive, showing dreams and aspirations whilst providing a clear vision for the future. The project is imaginative and provocative and at the same time grounded in reality. It touches on one of the most important activities in big cities, which is food and dining in a social context. It also introduces quality drawing and a creative way of presentation, demonstrating a deep understanding of the issues linked to buildings, cities, and pandemic … The images presented are expressive showing first class quality in its ideas, development, and structure.’

Read more about Maxwell’s winning project:

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 1

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 2

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 3

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 4

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 5

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 6

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 7

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 8

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 9

2061 Pabulum Odyssey 10

Harbour Front

Harbourfront Public Furniture Competition

Ten of our students, graduates, and Faculty staff have won in the Harbourfront Public Furniture Competition, organised by the Harbour Office of the Development Bureau and the Harbourfront Commission.

The Competition called for creative furniture designs to enhance visitors’ experience along the Victoria Harbourfront. The winning entries are:

  1. ‘By the Harbour’ by Vicky KONG Chin Wai (BSc(Surv) 2004), HUNG Kam Fai (BAAS 2004; MArch 2007) and their team
  2. ‘Dialogue at Distance’ by Weldon LEE (MArch 2012)
  3. ‘Endurance of Stricken Woods’ by Charles LAI Chun Wai (PhD student) and his team
  4. ‘Flip Along’ by Zeth KO Pak Kan (BAAS 2012; MArch 2015) and his team
  5. ‘VH Puzzled’ by Zeth KO Pak Kan (BAAS 2012; MArch 2015) and his team
  6. ‘Sit-easy’ by Wyan YEUNG Li Shung (MArch 2011) and his team
  7. ‘Social Ring’ by Arnold WONG Yok Fai (BAAS 2011; MArch 2014)
  8. ‘Urban Pebbles’ by Jason HILGEFORT, Adjunct Assistant Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and Jennifer YIP Yi Kwan (MArch 2019)
  9. ‘The Weave Chair’ by CHO Lok Man (MArch1)

These winning projects are installed at three promenades by Victoria Harbour, namely Hoi Fai Road Promenade, Promenade at Water Sports and Recreation Precinct, and Promenade at Pierside Precinct. For more information, visit:

1. By the Harbour by Vicky KONG Chin Wai, HUNG Kam Fai and team
2. Dialogue at Distance by Weldon LEE
3. Endurance of Stricken Woods by Charles LAI Chun Wai and team
4. Flip Along by Zeth KO Pak Kan and team
5. VH Puzzled by Zeth KO Pak Kan and team
6. Sit-easy by Wyan YEUNG Li Shung and team
7. Social Ring by Arnold WONG Yok Fai
8. Urban Pebbles by Jason HILGEFORT and Jennifer YIP Yi Kwan
9. The Weave Chair by CHO Lok Man

HKU Faculty of Architecture celebrates research excellence

Prof. Chris Webster Dean, FOA, HKU

Prof. Chris Webster

Professor Chris Webster
Dean, Faculty of Architecture

The RAE is not everyone’s perfect research quality evaluation process, but it is tried and tested and copied the world over. FoA set up one of HKU’s most thorough mock RAE processes and the both mock and real RAE gave an identical result: ~40% of FoA’s research outputs are world leading. For me, this testifies to the accuracy of the RAE as a peer review process and also validates FoA’s 6 year position among the top 10-14 Architecture and Built Environment schools in the world. Great result and all credit to my amazingly talented, hardworking and innovative colleagues!

Prof. Wilson Lu Associate Dean (Research) FOA, HKU

Prof. Wilson Lu

Professor Wilson Lu
Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Architecture

Even though I have worked in this Faculty for more than 10 years, I remain deeply fascinated by its mysteries. Basically, there are two sides to FoA. One side is a liberal, artistic FoA – free souls in knowledge exploration. Another side is a serious FoA, doing world-leading stuff. But when the mock RAE came, all became equally serious in preparing their research outputs, design folios and impact case studies. The excellent RAE outcome is a perfect reflection of the two sides of HKU’s FoA.

Dr. Eric Schuldenfrei

Dr. Eric Schuldenfrei

Dr. Cole Roskam

Dr. Cole Roskam

Dr. Eric Schuldenfrei
Head, Department of Architecture 

Dr. Cole Roskam
Director of Research, Department of Architecture

40% of the Department of Architecture’s research received a 4*, resulting in the most world-leading assessed work within the RAE2020’s Built Environment panels in Hong Kong. This is a testament not only to the strength of our traditional research outputs, such as sole-authored publications and journal articles, but also indicates we are producing world-leading research in the form of curated exhibitions, built architecture, and design, the quality of which historically has been difficult to evaluate. Through ongoing collaboration and dialogue, we will build upon these efforts to ensure our research remains grounded in the region but globally significant, original, and rigorous.

Professor Kelvin Wong, Head, Department of Real Estate & Construction (REC)

Prof. Kelvin Wong

Professor Kelvin Wong
Head, Department of Real Estate & Construction 

The Department of Real Estate & Construction is proud of its No.1 ranking in the Built Environment panel, both within HKU and across institutions.  Our academic staff will continue producing high-quality real estate and construction research to advance knowledge and make positive impacts on the industry and society.

Professor Bo Sin Tang

Prof. Bo Sin Tang

Prof. Shenjing He

Prof. Shenjing He

Professor Bo Sin Tang
Interim Head, Department of Urban Planning & Design 

Professor Shenjing He
Assistant Director, Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning

As evidenced by the RAE 2020 result and QS ranking, among many international recognitions, the Department of Urban Planning & Design/ Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning (DUPAD/CUSUP) has become an internationally leading research hub, teaching and incubation centre for urban studies and planning, urban science, urban design and policy analytics. In the coming years, the department will further develop its brand name in the field, featuring socially-impactful, interdisciplinary and innovative research on topics of urban and regional development and governance, housing, transportation, urban health and environmental studies, with the application of cutting-edge urban science methodologies, towards the goals of promoting healthy, resilient, livable and equitable cities under the new normal.

Mr. Alain Chiaradia

Mr. Alain Chiaradia

Mr. Alain Chiaradia
Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning & Design

RAE Impact case study requirements are tough. They involve multiple team efforts to iterate and coordinate the timely production of underpinning research, the description in a coherent whole of the research finding’s attributes, the planned and sometimes contingent dissemination and research reach to engage and create communities of users, end users, the collection and clear articulation of direct pathways to impacts, their magnitude from the communities of users over several years. It requires an awareness, understanding and tracking of teams and processes over the whole research and knowledge-production cycle. It is both a rigorous challenge and exciting achievement to be recognized for outstanding impacts. FoA has unparalleled advantages for researchers bringing together architectural design and urban and environmental analytics.


Dr. Bin Jiang

Dr. Bin Jiang

Dr. Bin Jiang
Associate Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture;
Director, Virtual Reality Lab of Urban Environments & Human Health, HKUrbanLabs

The mission of the Virtual Reality Lab of Urban Environments & Human Health is to understand how and to what extent urban environments, especially urban green spaces, influence human health and wellbeing. The lab has published more than 30 articles in the leading journals and conferences in the field of urban planning, landscape architecture, environmental epidemiology, and environmental psychology. The studies have been reported or cited by international organizations and media, such as WHO, New York Times, etc. The lab has established an international network with leading scholars and labs across the world.

Dr. Frank Xue

Dr. Frank Xue

Dr. Frank Xue
Assistant Professor, Department of Real Estate & Construction

From a background in Systems Engineering, I joined FoA as Research Assistant Professor in Fall 2016, giving me one of the last tickets to the RAE2020, fortunately. HKUrbanLabs, FoA’s interdisciplinary research incubation ecosystem, taught me how to walk on my early career path. The cross-disciplinary debates with my colleagues, including engineers, economists, social scientists, and architects, sharpened my thinking and research edges. I published interdisciplinary findings in the next couple of years as top journal papers, including three 4* and one 3* in the 2019 Mock Exercise. RAE 2020’s final result, i.e., 95% outcomes at 4* or 3* in Surveying, proved FoA’s interdisciplinary excellence splendidly coached me and all other fresh researchers.


Dr. Ben Chen

Dr. Bin Chen

Dr. Bin Chen
Assistant Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture

I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to FoA and colleagues for the exceptional research excellence in RAE 2020. As a geo-spatial data scientist and environmental remote sensing researcher, I am so impressed by the amazing team with diverse knowledge, profound insights, growth mindsets, novel technologies, and leading practices. As a new academic member, I am passionate and eager to contribute to the 2026 exercise and pursue research excellence with an all-star team!


Ir Dr Llewellyn Tang’s ‘BIM Warehouse’ won Silver Medal at International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva 2021

Ir Dr Llewellyn Tang led his team at Llewellyn and Partners Company Limited (LPC) – the first HKU BIM Innovation start-up – to win a Silver Medal at the 2021 Special Edition of International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, with their project ‘BIM Warehouse’.

LPC’s mission is to reshape the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Owner-operated (AECO) ecosystem with revolutionary solutions. The winning invention, ‘BIM Warehouse’, formulates a new AEC business model. It is a B2B2C e-warehouse and e-commerce platform to house AECO assets within an ISO-compliant asset information management platform (AutoCDE) that integrates BIM, GIS, IoT, A.I. and Blockchain. Its A.I. functionality (AutoBIM) can generate semantic 3D BIM models. Powered by blockchain (AEC2hain), it is a solution to AECO and real estate tokenisation. ‘BIM Warehouse’ optimises the processes and unifies the supply chain of the industry for higher cost efficiency and security. It empowers the industry for a new construction normal in digitalisation, standardisation, integration and industrialisation.

IEIG is one of the world’s most significant annual events devoted to inventions. This year, around 600 inventions from 20 countries were evaluated on virtual platforms by an international jury of specialists during 10-14 March 2021. Its award ceremony was held on 17 May 2021.

Press release:

Selected media coverage on Dr Tang’s start-up experience and views on BIM development in Hong Kong:

Llewellyn Tang 01

Dr Llewellyn Tang at IEIG 2021 Award Ceremony
Dr Llewellyn Tang at IEIG 2021 Award Ceremony
Dr Llewellyn Tang at IEIG 2021 Award Ceremony
Dr Llewellyn Tang at IEIG 2021 Award Ceremony


HKU Excellence Awards 2020

HKU Excellence Awards 2020

Two of our faculty members at the Division of Landscape Architecture have received the University’s 2020 Teaching Innovation Award, which aims to encourage pedagogical innovation that demonstrates impact on curriculum design and/or student learning:

  • Mr Gavin S. Coates has received an Individual Award for ‘continuing and enhancing field trip learning experiences in the online and dual-mode teaching environment’.
  • Mr Mathew Pryor (Team Leader), together with Miss Lynn Hanyuning Lin, Senior Research Assistant, and Dr Tyrone T.O. Kwok of Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative, have received a Team Award for their e-learning platform – the Digital Exhibition Space (DES).

The HKU Excellence Awards celebrate the exceptional achievements of the University’s academics in teaching and learning and in research, and recognise their contributions to knowledge exchange with society.

Mr Gavin S. Goates and his wife
Mr Gavin S. Coates and Mrs Gloria Coates
Mr Mathew Pryor, Miss Lynn Hanyuning Lin and Dr Tyrone T.O. Kwok
Mr Mathew Pryor, Miss Lynn Hanyuning Lin and Dr Tyrone T.O. Kwok
Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), presents the Teaching Innovation Award to Mr Mathew Pryor and his team
Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), presents the Teaching Innovation Award to Mr Mathew Pryor and his team
Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor, presents the Teaching Innovation Award to Mr Gavin S. Goates
Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor, presents the Teaching Innovation Award to Mr Gavin S. Coates


2020 Book of the Year Award by ASU Institute for Humanities Research

Dr Juan Du, Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, Associate Dean (International and Mainland China Affairs) and Director of the Urban Ecologies Design Lab (UEDL) of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has been presented the 2020 Book of the Year Award for Interdisciplinary Research by the Arizona State University (ASU) Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) for her book The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City (Harvard University Press, 2020).

The Shenzhen Experiment, published by Harvard University Press, unravels the myth of Shenzhen, a modern “miracle” that grew at an unprecedented rate from a rural border town into a megacity of 20 million within 40 years. Ten years in the making, the book reveals a surprising history for this so-called “instant city” and its success, which is not only attributed to centralised planning and economic policies, but also due to its diverse, vibrant communities such as indigenous farmers and migrant workers.

The IHR Book of the Year Jury commended The Shenzhen Experiment to be “beautifully written, masterfully narrated, rigorously researched, convincingly argued, and acutely relevant in today’s world. Du has brought environmental studies, urban studies, ethnic studies and the power of narrative non-fiction to bear on an illuminating story about the politics and possibilities of massive societal transformation.”

The Shenzhen Experiment has been reviewed by Architectural Record, ICON, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Asian Review of Books, Asian Affairs, Asian Century Institute, The Journal of Asian Studies, The China Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and Nature.

Reviewers commented that “Du’s new book provides historical context on this city’s development. And context is sorely needed: much coverage of Shenzhen’s development repeats the same lazy, government-derived tropes of a ‘fishing village turned megalopolis’ or a technological city of the future.” “The early history of the Shenzhen region is also a fascinating story, and Du is a masterful storyteller. She demonstrates the importance of this area and how it and Hong Kong were not just a barren area inhabited by pirates before the Opium Wars, but that the region was China’s most important salt depository going back millennia.”

Juan Du is an award-winning scholar, architectural and urban designer with extensive experience in architectural education and practice in Asia, United States and Europe. Her works have been featured by international journals and media, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and CNN. She was recently featured in New Chinese Architecture: Twenty Women Building the Future by Thames & Hudson Publishers (London).

About ASU Institute for Humanities Research Book Award
Established in 2008, the IHR Book Award offered by the Arizona State University has been awarded annually to a non-fiction work of humanities-based scholarship. The Book Award acknowledges the significant contribution of outstanding writers to the field of Humanities.

For IHR Book Award official website, please visit:

About The Shenzhen Experiment

HKU Press Release [Chinese] [English]

In Memory of Professor Sivaguru Ganesan

In Memory of Professor Sivaguru Ganesan (1942-2021)

Professor Sivaguru Ganesan‘Ganesan’, the name his HKU colleagues and students affectionately used to address him, was a mark of respect, as most were aware that the family name ‘Ganesan’ originates from that of a Hindu God. Educated as a Civil Engineer (1963), he then went to Tokyo to further his studies and obtain his masters degree in 1969 and developed an interest in the economic aspects of building and construction and later pursued his PhD at the University College London (UCL).  Two years after graduation, Ganesan joined the Department of Architecture in 1977 as a Lecturer.

His doctoral study analysed Sri Lanka construction and macro-economic data using the input-output model pioneered by Wassily Leontief -1973 Nobel Prize Winner of Economic Science. His modelling examined the impact of public sector investment in housing and construction on employment, and for it, he was awarded his PhD in 1975. Forty years later, academics in the Faculty of Architecture are still advancing Leontief’s ideas by building Computational General Equilibrium Models to refine regional carbon markets in the Greater Bay Area and beyond. Ganesan taught at the Department of Architecture, promoted to Reader (Professor) in 1988, and retired in 2004. During this period, he also held visiting appointments at MIT (1985-6) and the Taiwan Land Reform Institute (1990s). Ganesan taught generations of students who are now pivotal in many built environment disciplines including architecture, construction, urban design and surveying. He also singlehandedly established the Master of Urban Design (MUD) Programme in 1988. As an internationally renowned scholar, he was a mentor of many junior architecture colleagues who were hired as designers with little experience or knowledge in traditional research. When the University started to expand the research postgraduate programmes in the 90s, he became the departmental director of postgraduate studies for many years and provided basic research training for MPhil / PhD students. After his retirement, he became visiting professor at the UCL for several years before settling in his hometown of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Ganesan is missed by those of us in Hong Kong, along with his students and friends in other parts of the world. We would like to offer our deepest condolences for his family and comfort them with the thought that his legacy lives on his beloved world of Built Environment academia.

Former students,

K W Chau, Chair Professor; and Stephen Lau, Honorary Professor,
For and on behalf of the Faculty of Architecture