Public Lecture Series

Lim Chong Keat

Lim Chong Keat
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Room 419, Knowles Building, Pokfulam Road, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Retrospection & The Future: Conversations with a Pioneer Architect of Malaysia & Singapore
Lim Chong Keat

Schedule: 18:00 – 19:00 Lecture, 19:00 – 19:30 Dialogue with James Kinoshita (Former Partner, P&T Group), Shirley Surya (Associate Curator, Design and Architecture, M+), Eunice Seng (Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, HKU)


How could an architectural practice be cognisant of the myths of cultural independence and local-global dynamics, when architecture was complicit in the process of decolonisation and nationalism in postcolonial Malaysia and Singapore? Co-founder of Malayan Architects Co-Partnership (1961-67) and Architects Team 3 (1967-86), Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat posits architecture’s role as a progressive discipline of technological inventiveness, architectonic integrity and socio-cultural awareness. He will discuss alternative frameworks for post-colonial modernism through his work. Projects include: Southeast Asia’s earliest skyscrapers such as Development Bank of Singapore (1969-75) and KOMTAR (1962-86) that he co-designed with Buckminster Fuller, which set the pattern for urban redevelopment in the historic cores of Singapore and Penang respectively; civic landmarks like the Singapore Conference Hall and Trade Union House (1961-65); and Negeri Sembilan State Mosque (1962-67) and Jurong Town Hall (1969-74), which became indexes of national pride, international aspiration and urban connectivity. By deploying a language of geometry that rejected stylised expressions of nationalist revivalism, Lim advocated a self-critical regionalist form of modernism that engaged region-specific social, material, technological and climatic conditions, while selectively embracing the relevant and liberating dimensions of international modernism. Lim will also share how, as a humanist comprehensivist, he has developed an integration of knowledge and sensitivity to a variety of fields and values across architecture, urban planning, botany, and the arts.


Trained at the University of Manchester and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat (born 1930, Penang) is a prolific architect and urban designer. Co-founder of Malayan Architects Co-Partnership and succeeding firm Architects Team 3, Lim played a formative role in advancing architectural education and professionalisation, and the shaping of Singapore’s urban development, as Chairman of the Commonwealth Association of Architects Board of Architectural Education, President of the Singapore Institute of Architects (1966-69), founding Chairman of ARCASIA (Architects Regional Council Asia) (1969-74), board member of Singapore Housing and Development Board (1959-65) and United Nations Review Panel for State and City Planning of Singapore (1969-71). He was a visiting Professor University of Manchester (1995-2004), Quatercentenary Visiting Fellow Emmanuel College Cambridge (1995), PAM Gold Medalist (1997) and SIA Gold Medalist (2015). Lim exercised his interests and beliefs as a humanist comprehensivist by co-organising the “Campuan” intellectual exchanges in Bali and Penang with Buckminster Fuller (revived as “Buckyworld Confluence” at Bellevue, Penang Hill) and published the botanical journal Folia Malaysiana, as part of his ongoing work in botanical research and conservation.


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