The Faculty of Architecture has had decades of experience collaborating with top academic institutions in Mainland China through teaching and learning as well as research. We played a critical role in the development of both architectural and urban planning education in the Mainland after the 1979 opening up. In 2008, the Faculty reinforced its Mainland presence with the establishment of the Shanghai Study Centre (SSC).
The SSC was established in 2008 to foster stronger ties with the Mainland through academic exchange. It was housed in the historic Post Office building along the Suzhou Creek and had been a common and convenient platform for Hong Kong, Mainland Chinese and overseas students to pursue studies in architecture, architectural conservation, landscape architecture, real estate, construction management, surveying, urban design and urban planning. The SSC was also part of HKU’s ongoing effort to achieve a global vision in tertiary education by extending its academic curricula beyond the physical confines of Hong Kong.
The Faculty operated programmes at the SSC, as a vital counterpart to other academic programmes in Hong Kong. Its goal was that every undergraduate in the Department of Architecture and Division of Landscape Architecture would spend one complete semester of their studies in China, without interrupting their degree programme at HKU. The Department of Architecture had conducted joint studios and other activities with overseas universities at SSC, while the Department of Real Estate and Construction benefited from SSC’s well-placed and well-equipped facilities to support its Taught Postgraduate China Programme. The SSC also housed the HKU Shanghai Office, the HKU Journalism and Media Study Centre, and architecture SH, a public gallery for the exhibition of design projects related to the mission of the SSC.
The Faculty had built an innovative Building Information Modelling (BIM) lab at SSC in partnership with leading German technology company RIB. This was a place for HKU students, researchers and teachers, and their counterparts from partner universities around the world to explore design with state-of-the-art modelling facilities.
The “architecture SH” gallery within the SSC hosted conferences, exhibitions, symposia and lectures regularly – where the public and professionals met and exchanged ideas. The public programme at SSC featured critics with challenging opinions, architects with provoking viewpoints, planners with innovative solutions and academics with new theories – all with the goal of understanding the current condition in Chinese cities, and exploring beyond today and tomorrow.
An integrated component in the curriculum, the Workshop aimed to raise students’ awareness and enhance their understanding of current conservation practices worldwide, providing them with opportunities to exchange knowledge with conservation specialists from the academia, governments and professional practices outside Hong Kong.
Led by Dr. Lynne DiStefano and Dr. Ho-Yin Lee, and supported by guest-lecturers Professors Qing Chang, Yongyi Lu and Jiang Wu from the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, the Workshop focused on exploring Shanghai’s approaches to and methods of adaptive re-use of heritage buildings, with the objective of applying the knowledge to Hong Kong and other cities in China.