Public Lecture Series

Ulrich Kirchhoff

Ulrich Kirchhoff
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Room 730, 7/F, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Altitude: Building Hong Kong
Ulrich Kirchhoff


Has Hong Kong lived up to its promise as the future of architecture and urban planning? Are we still living in the laboratory for high density and future models of habitation? How are we as architects reacting to the takeover of architecture designed by marketing teams and economists? What are the mechanisms of this market?

From the past 70 years, Hong Kong experienced an explosive architectural development and reflected on its urban experience. It is time, we review the fundamental concept of altitude, as the development of density and sustainability. The market has matured now, also confined the mechanisms of innovation in the construction industry and logic beyond the architectural discourse, especially the academic ones. The overpowering strength of the trinity stakeholders – client, building department, and contractor – have generated further limitation to architectural building processes, instead, dwell into a complicated puzzle of laws and regulations, the architects’ role has been constrained during the process. Currently based in Hong Kong, Ulrich is trying to define his small studio’s role within the forces of the market. ‘Building Hong Kong’ will try to link his commercial work and his interest in the tectonics of high rise structures and his academic research in structural innovation to create a discourse on the opportunities of building in Hong Kong.

‘Building Hong Kong’ revisits his motivation to come to this inspirational city, the struggles he has to adopt his architectural concepts and ideals to an economy and marketing driven market. Moreover, it reviews his approach to making architecture both commercially as well as academically and the possibilities of bringing them together again.


Ulrich Kirchhoff is the principal and founder of ICE – ideas for contemporary environments, an architectural design studio that focuses on high-density and high-rise developments in Hong Kong. He was the head of the design at OMA Asia/ RAD for seven years and helped to realise several award-winning projects, including the first W-Hotel in Asia in Seoul, Korea, SK Telecom headquarter and Jeongju University Library in South Korea. Ulrich received the 40 under 40 Perspective Award for the most influential designers in 2007 in Greater China. His practice was awarded 2011 Asia Pacific Property Award for the best-mixed use development in Vietnam and won the 2016 Beam Plus Platinum for a residential development in Central Hong Kong. He previously served as the Visiting Professor at EPFL Lausanne in Switzerland and is currently an Assistant Professor at HKU.

“In order for nothing to change, all has to be changed”
il Gattopardo (The Leopard)
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa interpreted by Luchino Visconti

The Department of Architecture launches its 2017-2018 Public Lecture Series, on the work of its faculty. The “In-Progress” series will critically examine the relevance of a vast number of issues in relationship to architecture. The Teaching staff will share their most recent work/ research/ publications in a 60 minute talk which, will be followed by a discussion chaired by a person of the speaker’s choice. The respondent will preferably be from other faculties at HKU or outside of the university. We look forward to your active presence and participation.

****No registration is required. All interested are welcome****