Category Archives: Obituary

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

In Memory of Dr. J Andrew Shillinglaw


Andrew joined the School of Architecture University of Hong Kong as Lecturer from September 1977 until the end of 1989 in full time capacity.  He was the primary instructor of building services for both architecture and building students and ran the HKU based center of fire testing for compliance with BS476 and HK FSD rules. On a professional side, he was the researcher who first introduced the concept, design and commissioning of testing facility for curtain walling construction in Hong Kong.   In today ‘s language, Andrew’s achievement has been an exemplar of research and practice in the best scenario possible-developing and delivering knowledge to meet new and real challenges (since both fire testing and curtain wall testing are core drivers of building construction, technology and safety).  Knowledge exchange took place both ways, as Andrew was known for bringing his students to visit major constructions in town whenever possible, where he would deliver his lectures in situ. Following we have collected a number of notes for the memoirs, 

He was an engineer who can think outside the box and taught us engineering that is useful to an architect. With this I am hugely indebted to Andrew, as the engineering foundation he instilled in each of us helped me to break barriers and managed multidisciplinary teams with ease.”
(* Tony Shou Fat WONG, BAAS 83, BArch 86)

He added humor to his lectures, and made building services interesting. I can still recall vividly when he took us to the then newly completed Sheung Shui Sewage Treatment Plant and told us the treated water was drin​kable, He did drink some.
(CHEUNG Kwong Wing, BAAS 79, BArch 81)

“He inspired me to pursue a PhD degree which changed my career development.”
(NG Fung Fai, B Building 84.)

Andrew has been pivotal in the making of Hong Kong as a top Asia Global City.
(TANG Moon Wah, BArch 79, Managing Director, HKRI Intl Ltd).

“​Andrew was pioneer in many fields and helped to groom the construction safety standards in HK.”
(Leslie LAU, C&S 1987-2019, Partner Campbell Shillinglaw Lau Ltd, 2010-2019).

The Department of Architecture would like to offer its condolences to the Shillinglaw family, and wish him rest in peace.


Stephen Lau
Honorary Professor, Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong

In Memory of Mr. Kwok Pun, CHEUNG

KP Cheung at a public exhibition of his proposal for Hong Kong into the 2040’s. Source: Oriental Daily

With sadness we learnt the passing away of K P Cheung on 5 August.  

Born in Hong Kong, KP graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic (now Hong Kong Polytechnic University) in Mechanical Engineering, and Edinburgh University with a M.Sc. in Fire Safety Engineering.  After working in the profession – J. Roger Preston – and teaching at the Poly, he joined the Department from September 1992 onward, became Associate Professor since 2007.  For twenty two years and more he has been a popular ‘teacher- scientist’ who brought practical knowledge and many times advant garde ideas to the drawing board where design ideas were translated into building, completed with essential E/M services and technologies.  Quoting Benjamin Yiu (M Arch 1996), ‘he was respected by us for his support to make our studio design schemes closer to reality‘.   Notably, KP Cheung and Sam Hui are best known for their pioneered web-based teaching platform known to their international peers as “BEER & PIAT” in those days when the rest of us were using stone age technology of transparency and slide (1996-98).  On the academic front, KP is a guru (holder of many patents) of sundial, inventor of heliodon for desktop usage.  Professionally, KP is a world class expert of fire prevention and engineering.  Many of KP’s imaginative ideas made profound impacts on the future planning of Hong Kong at the sustainability urban scale – from Underground city to Eco-blueprint for the City.   Among many of KP’s contributions for the Department was key person – advisor, coordinator for Department Submissions for RAE.  

We shall remember KP for his integrity, dedication and persistence on guarding the highest standard ever in teaching, research and community outreach.  On behalf of the Department, colleagues and students, I extend our condolence to Mrs. Cheung and the two daughters. Rest in peace, Kwok Pun. 

Memorial service shall take place at the Hong Kong Funeral Home, 1/F, North Point, Hong Kong, August 22, 2020, 10AM.


Stephen Lau

Honorary Professor, Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong

In Memory of Professor Michael Sorkin (1948-2020)

Professor Michael Sorkin (1948-2020)
Professor Michael Sorkin

We join our colleagues in the US in expressing our deep sadness in the passing of Professor Michael Sorkin, architect, author, educator, critic and activist, due to complications caused by Covid-19. At the time of his passing, Professor Sorkin was principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, distinguished professor at CUNY and president of the non-profit research group Terreform Centre for Advanced Research which he founded in 2005.

Based in New York City, Professor Sorkin was an astute observer and fierce activist-critic. His incisive writings on contemporary architecture, the city, urban dynamics, urban culture and criticisms on modernist approaches on planning and public space have made him a highly respectable yet polemical figure in the fields of architecture and planning. As a prolific author, he has written and edited over twenty books, including the widely read Exquisite Corpse: Writings on Buildings (1991), Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space (1992), Local Code: The Constitution of a City at 42° N Latitude (1993) and All Over The Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities (2011).

Most widely remembered as the architectural critic for The Village Voice for ten years, he was contributing writer to The NationThe New York Times, the Wall Street Journal,  in professional journals such as Architectural RecordThe  Architectural Review and Metropolis, his polemical voice was a refreshing rejoinder to unrelenting urban development in the city and in cities across the world.

For many of us who had encountered him as students or colleagues in the institutions that Professor Sorkin had taught at – including the Architectural Association in London, the Cooper Union, Cornell University, Columbia University and Harvard University – he is remembered as a fearless educator, incisive in thought and words. A onetime Dean-nominee of our Faculty, he was invited as guest speaker in our public lecture series and as critic at our Department’s final design reviews. For many of us at HKU who recall his lectures in Knowles and HKU Shanghai Study Centre and his penetrating questions during our thesis reviews, his astute mind and forceful voice will be greatly missed.


Dr. Eunice Seng, 27 MArch 2020, on behalf of the HKU Department of Architecture

In Memory of Professor Barry Fegan Will (1945-2019)

Dear Students, Colleagues and Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Professor Barry Fegan Will, who served as Dean of the Architecture Faculty (1990-1998), on 29 August 2019 at the age of 74.

Born in Australia on 14 May 1945, Professor Will attended the University of Queensland and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Urban Studies.

Professor Will was an instrumental figure in building up the Faculty of Architecture of The University of Hong Kong in its early days. In 1971, he joined the Department of Architecture as a Lecturer and contributed to the formation of the then school of architecture and subsequently the Faculty of Architecture, separating architecture from engineering at the University. He was also significant for establishing the planning and urban design disciplines in the 1970s and 1980s within the school.

Professor Will served as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture from 1990 to 1998. Under his leadership, the BArch course was reformulated into a new BA(AS) and MArch curriculum, enabling students to specialize in diverse areas of architecture. Student design competitions became an integral part of the program and the awards won by the students in subsequent years were unprecedented. Thereafter, Professor Will continued to be actively involved in architectural education as both an Adjunct Professor and an Honorary Professor at the Department of Architecture.

In addition to his commitment to education, Professor Will has made significant contributions to the architecture community as President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (1999-2000) and Chairman of Architects Registration Board (1991-1992). His public duties included service as co-opted member of the Planning Development Conservation Committee of the Urban Renewal Authority (2001-2008) and as Chairman of the Authorized Person Registration Committee (2001-2003).

Professor Will will be dearly missed and remembered as an outstanding teacher and a great mentor to several generations of architects. With deepest sorrow, please join us to extend our condolences to his family.


Professor Chris Webster
Dean of the Faculty of Architecture
Chair Professor in Urban Planning and Development Economics
The University of Hong Kong

Memorial Service

A memorial service will be held for Professor Will in commemoration of his life-long service to the University and the architectural profession.  Please note below, the date, time and venue for this service:

Date: October 9, 2019 (Wednesday)
Time: 6:30 pm
Venue: Loke Yew Hall, The University of Hong Kong
Memorial Service Booklet (PDF Format)


In lieu of flowers, you are invited to make a donation towards the establishment of a fund, in honor of Professor Will, that will support student advancement at the Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong.

Photos and personal stories of Professor Will are also being collected.  If you should have any memories that you would like to share, please send them to

Related link from WCWP International Limited:

The Hong Kong Institute of Architects and the Architects Registration Board have published his obituary here.





In Memory of Professor Li Shirong

The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture’s Obituary to Professor LI Shirong


Professor Li ShirongIn Memory of Professor Li Shirong

We are saddened by the passing of Professor Li Shirong, Professor in the Faculty of Construction Management and Real Estate, Chongqing University, Deputy Mayor of Shapingba District, and Deputy Director of the Chongqing Economic and Trade Commission, Chongqing Government. Professor Li was also the past and first female President of the Chartered Institute of Building, UK.  Her passing is a great loss to both the academic and the professional communities.

Professor Li obtained her Doctoral degree from Reading University, UK, and was a renowned scholar in construction project management, public project procurement, and international construction. She was well known for her pivotal role in bridging the construction management communities in China and the UK. Professor Li has been a friend and great supporter of our Department and will always remain special to us in many ways.

Professor Li contributed substantially to China and was always concerned about young people.  In addition to Professor Li’s charisma as a scholar and professional in her field, she was approachable and affable, and hence we feel deeply our loss in losing her as a colleague and friend.  We extend our deepest condolences to Professor Li’s family.


Professor K W Chau
Head & Chair Professor
Department of Real Estate and Construction
The University of Hong Kong




In Memory of Herb Stovel (1948-2012), ACP Honorary Associate Professor



With great sadness, ACP mourns the passing of Mr. Herb Stovel, who passed away of heart failure on 14 March 2012. He is survived by his wife, Meryl Oliver, and two children, Colin and Virginia.

Herb was an Honorary Associate Professor of ACP, and he was actively involved in teaching ACP’s technical courses, especially in the programme’s early years.

Trained as an architect and an architectural conservationist, Herb held two tenure professorships, the first in the School of Architecture at the University of Montreal, and later in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University. He taught conservation at both universities. Significantly, he held the Directorship of the Heritage Settlements Unit at the Rome-based International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM, a UNESCO-affiliated organization).

Widely respected for his active promotion of conservation within an international framework, Herb is acknowledged as a key person involved in the international adoption of the ground-breaking Nara Document on heritage authenticity. Last year, Herb’s work in conservation was recognized with the equivalent of the Noble Prize in conservation – the most prestigious ICCROM Award, for which candidates are nominated by UNESCO.

ACP is privileged to have had him as one of us, and we will always remember him as a close friend, a great teacher and a caring mentor.

Hoyin, for ACP

In Memory of Professor Ralph Lerner

In Memory of Professor Ralph Lerner (1949 – 2011)

Condolence Book

From Steffen Lehmann, Research Professor, Director, University of South Australia at 20110708 14:48:55

Dear Ralph, You were a giant in the field of architectural education. Your leadership was exceptional and your views on the world influenced generations of young architects. We didn’t always agree on issues, for instance when judging a competition in Shanghai; but your ability to convince and your well considered articulated viewpoints, ensured your view point was highly respected. You will be deeply missed.

From alien, staff at 20110624 10:49:08
May you rest in peace, Professor Lerner.

From Kam Louie, Dean, Arts Faculty at 20110621 12:30:44
Ralph’s insights and no-nonsense comments were greatly appreciated by all the Deans. His friendship and collegiality were also highly valued. We will miss him.

From Professor Edward Ng, Chinese University of Hong Kong at 20110620 20:28:18
I cme to know Professor Lerner when I met him forthe first time in HKU talking about Bridge to China ( projects in my capacity as the chairman of the WZQ Charitable foundation. The meeting was not long, but already I could sense his great sense of purpose and vision. He gave us the greatest of his support. It is not for nothing that his vision has paid off and students of Tsinghua U and HKU will build their Joint U Centenary bridge in China this summer. I am sure he will be missed by us all.

From Andrew Tirta & Jennywati, ILATAAJ, Jakarta at 20110613 23:27:31
Our condolences to family members. Ralph left us with the greatest impressions sharing warm chats and good laughs during the AA Shanghai Summer School a couple of years ago.

From Reyan, HKU Architecture Alumni at 20110611 11:20:03
Thank you for all your efforts and contribution to the faculty. It has been an honour and good fortune to have studied under your Deanship. I will always remember what you told us. Thank you and I will miss you. May you rest in peace and my deepest condolences to your family.

From Mark Hemel, Information Based Architecture, Amsterdam at 20110610 22:00:15
My Sincere Condolances, I’m sorry that we never met in person. I wish your dear ones lot’s of strenght.

From Jane Hao, Ryerson University at 20110606 15:46:28
May you rest in peace.

From HKU Alumni-Dept of Architecture , at 20110603 21:42:01
May you rest in peace.

From Nikki, HKU MArch at 20110602 19:52:57
My condolences to the Lerner family. May you rest in peace.
From William Louie, S.O.A (What magazine) at 20110522 23:59:33
Dear Sir, We are so shock , deepest sad and can’t believe that. We are always remember your effort, passion and encouragement to us and architecture. May you rest in peace. Best Regards William Louie on behalf of S.O.A

From Maria Francesch, HKU Alumni-Dept Politics and Public Administration, at 20110522 00:37:01
It is with sadness I read of the passing of Ralph Lerner. I briefly met with when his daughter Esther joined the Soc Sci Summer School of 2008. I recall his keeness in giving Esther an opportunity to do something ‘meaningful in Asia’. To Esther and the family, may you treasure his dedication to you and fulfill his hopes! May Ralph rest in peace.

From Kannex, HKU at 20110519 12:02:17
Your face, your smile still in our mind……we miss you. May you rest in peace.

From Jaenes Bong, HKPDA at 20110518 21:43:33
My deepest condolence. It is a great loss for the architecture academy and professional. May you rest in peace.

From Daniel, staff at 20110518 15:41:10
Idealistic, Energetic, Genuine, a truly respectable spirit.

From David Sadoway, PhD student, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Architecture, Dept.of Urban Planning & Design at 20110518 10:51:21
My condolences to the Lerner family for their loss. As the former Grad Student Rep to the HKU Arch Faculty Board I witnessed Dean Lerner’s energy and vision first hand. Though we did not always philosophically agree on every issue, Ralph made me feel comfortable expressing my dissenting opinions as a student representative. I think the comfort that I experienced says some thing about a man who respected the notion of academic freedom in the classic sense of learning by inviting diverse: ideas, debate and discourse. The Faculty, under Dean Lerner’s stead always had an extremely lively array of guest scholars, lecturers and speakers. And to cite just one example, which says a lot about Dean Lerner’s respect for diversity and dissent, a recent Faculty guest speaker was artist Ai Wei Wei–the passionate and outspoken artist-designer. I also had a glimpse of Dean Lerner’s more personal legacy when I met his daughter Esther during the HKU Summer Institute. I can attest, as a Mentor in this program that Esther certainly brings Ralph’s critical passion to debate and inquiry in important public interest questions. Once again, please accept my condolences.

From Jamie Yue, HKU Architecture Alumni at 20110517 20:25:38
Thank you for all your efforts and contribution to the faculty. May you rest in peace and my deepest condolences to your family.

From NG Wah-keung Augustine, Central Policy Unit (Former Project Director, WKCDA) at 20110517 11:34:28
It is an honour to have met you and worked with you. May you rest in peace.

From Mary Wong, Former MArch Secretary at 20110517 09:24:07
May you rest in peace, your spirit is always with us.

From SU Chang, HKU BAAS class of 2013 at 20110516 22:05:15
Thank you for bringing us so close to the true architecture education. May you rest in peace.

From Henrik Valeur, Creative Director, UiD at 20110516 20:08:54
May you rest in peace

From Maggie, HKU Architecture Alumni at 20110516 13:20:40
rest in peace

From Stephen Chung, Honorary Assistant Adjunct Professor, HKU Alumni, Faculty of Architecture-Department of Real Estate & Construction at 20110515 02:12:50
I have met Professor Lerner only once or twice via departmental events yet as an alum from the early 1980s, when the faculty was still a closely-knitted school, losing a member was like losing a friend or family member. As such, I would like to express my condolences to his family.

From Claire Fu, HKU Architecture at 20110514 21:06:10
Dear Sir, it is the great honour to have you in our faculty. Thank you for all your positive energy and contribution brought to us as well as our school. May you rest in peace. And my deepest condolences to your family.

From Adeline Peng, HKU March alumni at 20110514 12:35 at 20110514 12:35:03
Dear Professor Lerner, I will never forget the opportunity and encouragement you gave us in the Harvard Joint Studio, and your warm invitation to your home in Princeton.You and Mrs. Lerner are very kind and nice.May you rest in peace.And offer my deepest condolences to Mrs. Lerner.

From Myra, HKU Department of Architecture Alumni at 20110514 12:30:50
It has been an honour and good fortune to have studied under your Deanship. Though the time is short, your passion and wisdom have touched many students and steered our architectural education in a new direction. May you rest in peace.

From Otto Ng, MIT, HKU Architecture Alumni at 20110514 04:57:48
I deeply regret the loss of Dean Lerner, great architect, admired intellect and our friend. Professor Lerner’s dedication had a profound influence not only on hku’s pedagogy but also on my design interests that convinced me and many of my friends to pursue our graduate studies in the states. My teacher, may you rest in peace.

From facutly student, hku at 20110513 21:39:30
kkkkkkkkk….. Miss our dean…… Miss our facutly… Miss our geniue…

From Paul Chow, MLA alumni, HKU at 20110513 18:36:38
We lost a good Dean. Thank you for your contributions to faculty for these years. May you rest in peace.

From Stella Shen, HKU Alumni at 20110513 17:53:41
It is really sad to hear about this. All the progress and improvement he brought to us is remembered. The pioneering education he emphasized benefited us a lot. The Shanghai centre he made efforts for reinforced the exchange of ideas. May you rest in peace.

From sandy putranto, HKU MUD alumni at 20110513 17:00:24
My deepest condolences. It’s really an honour to have you in HKU dear Sir.

From Dan Luo, Columbia University, The University of Hong Kong at 20110513 15:33:49
Really grateful for all the changes and energy he brought along to HKU. And I’d never find my way so smoothly in the world of architecture without his dedication to the reforming of the program and school. Rest in Peace

From Gwyneth , HKU Alumni-Dept of Architecture at 20110513 15:13:13
Dear Sir, May you rest in peace.


Vice Chancellor’s Message

Message from The Vice-Chancellor

Dear colleagues, students and alumni,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Professor Ralph Lerner, passed away on Saturday morning, May 7, 2011 in Princeton, after a long battle with brain cancer.

Professor Lerner was the University’s first Appointed Dean of Architecture, appointed in February 2006, and joined us from Princeton University, where he was Dean of its School of Architecture from 1989 to 2002.

During his time here as Dean, Professor Lerner always worked with the best interests of the Faculty in mind. He was instrumental in instituting reforms within the Faculty, and brought world-renowned professionals and educators to HKU, to share their expertise and experience with our staff and students.

Professor Lerner also had the vision to establish a Study Centre in Shanghai that would become a hallmark of the Faculty. He saw not only the possibilities that China could offer the Faculty, and ultimately the University, but also the importance of initiating Knowledge Exchange activities throughout the Mainland, and was committed to realising these opportunities.

The University is grateful to Professor Lerner for his dedication and leadership, and the enormous achievements he made during his too short time as our Dean of Architecture. He will always be remembered as being an important member of the University family.

We will miss Professor Lerner’s remarkable strength of character and sense of purpose, and I am sure you will join me in offering my deepest condolences to Professor Lerner’s wife, Lisa Fischetti, and his son Sigmund, and daughter Esther.

Professor Lap-Chee Tsui


It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing away of Professor Ralph Lerner, Dean of our Faculty, on Saturday morning, 7 May 2011, in Princeton, after a long battle with brain cancer.

Professor Lerner received his Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union School of Architecture and his Master of Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He worked for Haus-Rücker Architects, Richard Meier, and Ulrich Franzen, before opening his own practice in Charlottesville, VA, and then in partnership with Richard Reid in London, England 1980-84, until establishing the firm Ralph Lerner Architect PC in 1984. He taught at the University of Virginia, The Polytechnic of Central London, Harvard, and Princeton, where he was named Dean in 1989 and then the George Dutton ’27 Professor of Architecture in 1994. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Professor Lerner was appointed as the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong in February 2006. He left the position at the end of March 2011 for health reasons. During his five years as Dean, Professor Lerner set about revamping the entire Faculty in order to achieve his goal of making the Faculty one of the undisputed world-leading Schools of Architecture. Under his leadership, the Faculty achieved a higher standard of lecturing, a broader range of international contacts and, in particular, the influx of fresh teaching talent. His deep sense of commitment and passion towards his work, and his strong leadership provided a feeling of unity and purpose for all members of the Faculty. The Faculty was very fortunate to have Professor Lerner as our Dean and he will be fondly remembered for his vision, dedication and sharp intellect.

Professor Lerner will be sorely missed by his colleagues, friends and students. A memorial service in his memory will be held at the University. Details about the service will be announced shortly.

Faculty of Architecture
The University of Hong Kong

Memorial Service