Géraldine Borio

Géraldine Borio
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
To be held virtually via Zoom
Looking for the Voids: Learning from Asia’s Liminal Urban Spaces as a Foundation to Expand an Architectural Practice
Dr. Géraldine Borio
Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture, HKU
Meeting ID: 918 2967 5574
Password: 199571


Behind the legitimate city, of which we can easily draw the outlines, lies the city of ‘in-betweens’ – a system of thresholds in a constant state of transformation that oscillates between the classical duo of inside/outside, public/private, and legal/illegal. Because of this ambiguous status, this condition opens up multiple ways of interpreting the physical and metaphorical limits between the solid and the void, allowing the city to breathe.

For an architect, this liminal condition inspires precisely because it contains a set of spatial design strategies that resist an architecture that tries only to fill every space it encounters. The challenge, however, is to transpose teaching from the outdoor liminal space, characterised by its lack of control and its organic qualities, to the shaping of space in controlled situations, and projects.

Moving through more than fifteen years of investigation in the East Asian Coastline area, the metropolitan hubs of Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul have been my testing ground to explore the notion of spatial ambiguity at different scales. Along the way, the shift from in-situ observation and intervention to the making of architecture has created opportunities to test the mechanism of in-between space, buffer zone and threshold.

Looking for the Voids will reflect an original view point on what the Asian city is, can be and what can then be added into it and contribute to providing an original approach of reading and writing the built environment. To this end, the work presented here argues that the action of reading the city is not merely a passive approach, but rather an active process of constructing a narrative; in other words, reading is a way of acting.

The Author

Dr. Géraldine Borio is a Swiss-registered architect who holds a PhD in Architecture from RMIT, Australia as well as a Master of Architecture degree from The Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL). She is currently an assistant professor at The University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture. Géraldine Borio is also the founder of Borio Lab, an independent research laboratory and architectural-based practice. Prior to that, she co-founded Parallel Lab Research and Architecture (2010-15). She has worked with architecture firms in Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Géraldine Borio is the co-author of Hong Kong In-Between, a bilingual book (English-Chinese) co-published by Park Books (Zürich) and MCCM Creations (Hong Kong) in 2015.

Her research and architectural work have been exhibited at the Vitra Museum; Rotterdam Architecture Biennale; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism; Zurich University of the Arts; St-Etienne Design Biennale; Beijing Design Week; Hong Kong School of Design and the ICI Curatorial Hub, New York.


Xi Liao
PhD Student, Department of Architecture, HKU

Xi Liao is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Architecture. Her research focuses on the sustainable perspectives on Lingnan vernacular courtyard dwellings and their applications in high-density cities. She previously worked as an architectural designer at Smithgroup (USA Headquarter) and was an adjunct assistant professor at Lawrence Technology University.