The Department of Architecture’s Research and Development (R&D) Studios offer opportunities for students to engage in active architecture and urban design projects underway at various and stages as an integrated part of their curriculum. Each studio pairs a professor at the University of Hong Kong with an industry partner based in the region to work with students in the Master of Architecture program on a design challenge set around a real project. Addressing issues ranging from public space in contemporary cities to heritage conservation, from technology to design ecologies, R&D Studios are designed to draw on the diverse resources of all five academic units of the Faculty of Architecture and to provide a unique vehicle for knowledge exchange with the industry and with local communities affected by the rapid pace of urban development in Asia. Each studio involves site visits and on-site research, participation in project meetings, and presentations to local communities and stakeholders. The R&D Studio preserves the academic integrity of the design studio, the foundation of an architect’s education, while providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a complex contemporary context, reflecting the Department of Architecture’s commitment to experiential learning. Students are encouraged to see the R&D Studio as an opportunity to learn about the practices of the profession from the inside, while at the same time creatively questioning and productively challenging the profession’s prevailing practices. The format and pedagogy of the R&D studios will be reviewed annually to ensure its continued improvement.
The first R&D Studios to launch in spring 2012 will be in collaboration with a diverse group of partners. Associate Professor Tom Verebes will work with the Hong Kong design firm LWK & Partners; Assistant Professor Anderson Lee will work with Hong Kong Developers Nan Fung Group; Associate Professor Weijen Wang will work with the Fok Ying Tung Foundation; and Assistant Professor David Erdman will work with the Environment Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR.