Category Archives: Announcement

Vincci Mak awarded at the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust

Vincci Mak awarded at the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust

Vincci Mak Awarded at the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust

Ms. Vincci Mak is awarded at the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust – Grant Application 2021/22, for the amount of $305,300, for her proposal titled “Village, Tree, Heritage”.

Project Summary

There is a growing awareness of the built heritage of traditional villages, and the landscapes there also have great significance in the village everyday life. In particular, old trees have great symbolic/cultural values and are the centre of village traditional practices. Anchoring village communal spaces and events through time, they are significant in telling stories, local history, and collective memories of the villagers.

This project will identify old trees in various villages having significance in everyday village culture. They will be studied as a lineage to analyse trends, patterns, and relationships among different practices and rural stories. In the long run, the study aims to establish a comprehensive database and set of knowledge about Hong Kong’s old village trees and their interrelationships with everyday village cultures.

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:

Top 1% Most-cited Researchers

Congratulations to the following members of the Faculty, who have been ranked by Clarivate Analytics in the top 1% worldwide by citations, for their outstanding performance in at least one of the 22 research fields:

Professor Shenjing He
Dr Xingjian Liu
Professor Wilson Lu
Dean Chris Webster
Professor Anthony Yeh

The data is drawn from Essential Science Indicators (ESI). For its methodology, please visit the Clarivate Analytics webpage.

More information on HKU Scholars in the Top 1% (2009-2021).

*Data source: Essential Science Indicators, updated as of 9 July 2021 to cover a 10-year plus 4-month period, from 1 January 2011 to 30 April 2021.

CCFS Awarded Projects

CCFS Awarded Projects

Rural Urban Lab and Division of Landscape Architecture are among the 10 winners of this year’s Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS), launched by the HKSAR Government to promote the sustainable conservation and revitalisation of the remote countryside. In addition to two other CCFS projects awarded in 2020-21, by Centre for Chinese Architecture and Urbanism and Social Infrastructure for Equity and Wellbeing Lab respectively, FoA has received close to HK$9M funding from the government scheme:



    • ‘Village Commoning: Developing a Community-led Model in Countryside Revitalisation’, by Vincci Mak (Principal Investigator), together with Dr Cecilia Chu and Maxime Decaudin of Division of Landscape Architecture, proposes village revitalisation that attends to the needs and aspirations of local villagers and engages them throughout the process.

      Vincci Mak (PI, centre), together with team members Dr Cecilia Chu and Maxime Decaudin
      Vincci Mak (PI, centre), together with team members Dr Cecilia Chu and Maxime Decaudin





Established under the Countryside Conservation Office in 2019, the CCFS supports non-profit-making organisations with funding on projects about nature conservation management, restoration of built heritage, cultural rehabilitation/revitalisation, and countryside conservation and revitalisation in Hong Kong’s rural hinterland.

About CCFS

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!


John Lin bestowed a 2021 Graham Foundation grant

John Lin bestowed a 2021 Graham Foundation grant

John Lin bestowed a 2021 Graham Foundation grant

More from Graham Foundation

Project title

Renovation Toolbox: A guided tour of innovative houses by self-builders in rural China

Project abstract

“Renovation Toolbox: A guided tour of innovative houses by self-builders in rural China” develops a series of short movies to spread stories of vernacular adaptations.

It has been over 50 years since Architecture Without Architects introduced vernacular or “non-pedigreed” architecture to a wider audience. Revisiting Rudofsky’s premise on vernacular architecture through the lens of contemporary China is to be confronted with abandonment, infrastructural collisions, mutations, adaptations, and contested territories. What we find today is a transitional life-style through a hybrid way of living. Stories of structural adaptation of traditional houses often happen alongside social and community transformation. The films act as “guided tours” of these transformations, narrating the design responses that negotiate between traditional housing forms and the changing conditions of the rural village. The goal is to bring the research to life actively demonstrating to governments and self-builders the culturally and environmentally sustainable benefit of adapting traditional houses as opposed to abandonment.

Project statement

The underpinning research uncovered examples of innovative, sustainable and efficient renovations of vernacular houses done by spontaneous builders in four remote locations in rural China. These renovated houses have already been represented through photographs and drawings in the previous research project, but in order to bring the research to life and to actively demonstrate the benefits of adapting traditional houses, a series of follow up films will be developed. The films act as “guided tours” of the renovations, making those remote houses virtually accessible.

There will be four films, each one corresponding to a vernacular house typology that emerged from the previous research (underground houses in Sanmenxia, Shanxi; wooden houses in Guizhou, Guiyang; collective houses in Longyan, Fujian; and seasonal houses in Shangri-La, Yunnan). The aim is to encourage people to consider adaptation as alternative over cheaply available building methods that are currently transforming the rural landscape. The project will also potentially influence policy in vernacular houses preservation. The understanding of adaptation as a viable strategy can help to reduce the abandonment of traditional houses and ensure the longevity of vernacular structures.

The films will have a greater impact on the actual production of the rural built environment – much of which is made without architects.

John Lin bestowed a 2021 Graham Foundation grant

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]

QS World University Rankings for Architecture 2021

QS World University Rankings for Architecture 2021

In the latest QS World University Rankings for Architecture 2021, HKU FoA retains its global ranking of 14th in the field of architecture and built environment, while placed fourth in Asia and remaining the best-performing in Hong Kong. We have been consistently ranked in the world’s top 15 over the past six years.

Measured by the h-index, a bibliometric indicator of global intellectual footprint that captures how many other academics use our ideas, FoA is 7th best in the world with five of our researchers recognised in the Top 1%, namely Professor He, Shenjing, Dr Liu, Xingjian Liu, Professor Lu, Weisheng Wilson, Professor Webster, Christopher John and Professor Yeh, Anthony Gar On.

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:

Call for proposals: Deep City – Climate crisis, Democracy and the Digital

Deep City – Climate crisis, democracy and the digital. 24-27 March 2021

2020(21) International Latsis Symposium – Open Forum

Big data, smart systems, machine learning – it is inevitable that these new technologies will change the way we study, build and manage our cities. At the same time resurgent interest in consensus and contributive action seems to oppose an exclusively data-driven urbanism. Is the opposition of machine intelligence and democracy inevitable, or are shared trajectories possible?

Politicians, social scientists, urbanists, and architects find their working methods and disciplinary knowledge challenged by insights derived from big data, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). As both citizens and experts in the many respective fields, our mission must be to bring in our disciplinary knowledge and civic engagement to support the appropriate development and discussion of data-driven tools, to consider both their biases and potentials, and to promote broader social literacy and criticality. Ultimately, it is a question of both decanting the technical quality of these new instruments of design, management and decision making, as well as enhancing democratic control over them. How do we do this? Do our disciplines currently lack adequate strategies to understand, let alone critique or exploit the knowledge-products of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data?

Due to the ongoing covid-19 crisis, the International Deep City Latsis Symposium has been rescheduled to 24-27th March 2021 with an innovative conference concept where the digital and the physical will join to create a global dialogical field. To ground this field and foster meaningful exchange, the organisers launch a Call for Proposals, ranging from operational practices to speculative and theoretical questionings. These can be presented in written, built, coded, drawn, figured, imagined, filmed, modelled or in any other way conveyed format. Participants will be able to attend and present their work in person at any of its three main sites or through the Deep City analog-digital platform where they’ll be able to participate and discuss with the event’s global audience.

Deep City will take place on the EPFL Campus in Lausanne, from 24 to 27 March 2021, with parallel and common activities in partner sites Singapore (in collaboration with SUTD Singapore University of Technology and Design) and Hong Kong (in collaboration with HKU The University of Hong Kong). This social and cultural event will connect different cities and time zones, augmenting the physical experience through the digital and augmenting the digital through a unique approach to the physical.

Conference themes:

  • Data, democracy and sovereignty: towards new urban and political imaginaries.
  • New digital tools for urban governance.
  • New material agencies.
  • Making ground for new negotiations between the technological, the ecological and the social.
  • Resilient cities in the post-Anthropocene
  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence as new forms of design rationality

Deep City is organized by EPFL Institute of Architecture’s laboratories ALICE (Atelier de la conception de l’espace) and LDM (Media and Design Laboratory) in collaboration with SUTD Singapore University of Technology and Design and The University of Hong Kong.

The deadline for submissions is 20 October 2020.

Read more …