Xiaoqing Liu

Xiaoqing Liu
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
To be held virtually via Zoom
Land Reclamation and Temples in Hong Kong Island, 1841-1940
Xiaoqing Liu, PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture

Zoom details:
Meeting ID: 913 4845 2797
Password: 329694


Temples are generally presumed to be fixed, stable objects in the built environment that fulfill one central purpose: religious worship. My research challenges this generalization and argues for the temple as a changeable, fluid, and multi-dimensional node in Chinese life in colonial-era Hong Kong.

Based upon research that composes one chapter of my dissertation, this seminar focuses on the relationship between land reclamation and temples in Hong Kong Island from 1841 to 1940. Two specific temples, including the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan and the Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay, form the basis of my historical analysis, which relies upon visual and spatial representation and temple scripts to understand both the historical functions and meanings of these buildings and how such meaning may have changed associated with the changes taking place in relation to the ground itself.

A closer look at Hong Kong’s land reclamation practices and policies reveals radical disruptions between the temples’ original orientations adjacent to the sea that affected how they served their communities, patrons, and surrounding urban contexts. Three specific episodes of land reclamation, including reclamation at Sheung Wan in 1850s and 1868 to 1873, as well as reclamation at East Point in 1864, and one at Causeway Bay in the 1880s, severed these temples from their ocean-adjacent sites and had a consequential effect upon the changing and forming landscape and space around the temple for the views, onsite activities, and environmental context of the visitors to the temples.


Xiaoqing Liu is a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Xiaoqing completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at HKU before pursuing her PhD study. Her research interest is Chinese architectural history and theory. Currently, she focuses on the history of temples in Hong Kong from 1841 to 1940.


Primary Supervisor: Cole Roskam

Co-supervisor: Tao Zhu

Discussant: Yuk Hong Ian Tan, PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture

Ian Tan’s PhD research examines the circulation of iron architecture in colonial port cities, particularly Singapore and Hong Kong. By examining the architectural, spatial, and socio-economic contexts behind iron building types, Ian foregrounds the material as a key proponent of modernity which transformed how people lived, worked, and socialised during the turn of the century.



All interested are welcome.