Eunice M. F. Seng, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee in Architecture at the University of Hong Kong; and Founding Principal of SKEW Collaborative Shanghai-Hong Kong. She is co-director of the Singapore Institute of Architects Archifest 2017, founding member of Docomomo HK, and member of Asia Urban Lab, Singapore. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and a PhD from Columbia University. Trained as an architect and architectural historian, her work explores various disciplinary intersections and questions of agency in architecture. Her research interests include the histories and theories of modernity and modernism; domesticity, housing and the metropolis; post-colonialism and politics of power; utopias, artefacts and their cultural representations.
Seng’s GRF-funded research project, “Dense DomestiCities: Composite Building Histories in Hong Kong, 1950s-1970s” (2017-2020), explores the inextricable relationship between architecture, people, institutions, economy and the urban domestic environment in Hong Kong. A concurrent collaborative research project “Gender, Professionalization and the Built Environment” examines the contribution of women in the architectural fields to the design and production of the built environment in Hong Kong and Singapore. Other ongoing research projects include “Vertical Factory Design in Hong Kong, Industrial Architecture of East Kowloon, 1950s-60s” (2018-)” and “Architecture of Artifacts” (2016-). Past research projects include “Documenting Man Wah Sun Chuen: A Critical History of Collective Dwelling in Hong Kong, c.1950s-70s” (2012-13) and “Artifacts: Partitions” (2012), “Building Housing Experiments, c.1950s: A Comparative Analysis of Modern Housing in Hong Kong, Singapore and London” (2009-2011).
Seng, E. The Resistant City: Histories, Maps and the Architecture of Development. London; Hong Kong; Singapore: World Scientific Press, 2020.
Seng, E. “Chapter 8 – People’s Park Complex: The State, the Developer, the Architect and the Conditioned Public, c1967.” In Questioning Southeast Asia’s Architecture, edited by Chang J.-H. & I. Tajudeen, 227-264. Singapore: NUS Press, 2019.
Seng, E. “Multiple Domesticities versus Homogenizing Difference.” In Multiple Modernities, edited W.S.W. Lim and J. Chia, 171-181. Singapore: Asia Urban Lab, 2018.
Seng, E. “The City in a Building: A Brief Social History of Hong Kong.” Marginalia: Limits within the Urban Realm – Studies in History and Theory of Architecture 5 (2017): 81-98.
Seng, E. “Temporary Domesticities: The Southeast Asian Hotel as (re)presentation of Modernity, 1968-1973.” The Journal of Architecture – Dwelling Asia, 22, No. 6 (2017): 1092-1136. Special issue edited by L. Chee and E. Seng.
Chee, L. and E. Seng. “Dwelling in Asia: translations between dwelling, housing and domesticity.” The Journal of Architecture 22, No. 6 (2017): 993-1000.
Seng, E. “The Housing Imperative: Crisis, Improvement and Design.” In Vanished Public Housing Estates in Singapore, edited by E. Ong and Koh K.C., 10-15. Singapore: DoNotDesign, 2017.
Seng, E. “Transnational Utopia: Diaspora as Creative Praxis.” In Singapore Dreaming: Managing Utopia, edited by H.K. Wee and J. Chia, 146-165; 327-29. Singapore: Select Books, 2016.
Seng, E. “Common Ground: Reflections and Speculations on the Padang as Public Space.” The Singapore Architect, 1 (2015): 72-80.
Seng, E. “The Politics of Greening: Spatial Constructions of the Public in Singapore.” In Non West Modernist Past: Architecture and Modernities beyond the West, edited by W.S.W. Lim and J.H. Chang, 143-160. London; Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2011.
Seng, E. “Utopia or Euphoria? Six Sites of Resistance in Disneyland and Singapore.” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review 16, No. 2 (2005): 39-57.
Ongoing efforts to situate history and theory within architectural design and practice extend to conference papers and invited lectures. These include: “Concrete Garden City: trans(planting) a nation, 1950s-present” (Docomomo, Slovenia, 2018), “The City, the Woman and the Other Spaces” (The City and its Double, HKU, 2018), “Domesticity, Labor and ‘Ideal Homes’ in Singapore” (Situating Domesticities Workshop NUS, 2017); “Technologies of the Slab: Jardine House and Visions of Modern Hong Kong” (SAH, Chicago, 2016); “Habitat, c1976: Transnational technologies, modern domesticities in Singapore and Hong Kong,” Conference on Global Architecture in the 1970s: Science, Technology, Environment (Victoria University of Wellington, 2016); “Breaking News: narratives of a Composite Building between tradition and development, or, an Architecture of Impatience, 1964-2014,” (IASTE, Kuala Lumpur, 2014); “The City in the Building,” paper presented at “Expansion and Conflict” (Docomomo, Seoul, 2014); “The Housing Crisis and the Tropes of Improvement: Estate Blueprints of the Singapore Improvement Trust, 1927-1951” (AAG, Tampa, 2014).
Seng has co-convened a number of international symposiums including: Archigram Symposium (2018), Symposium on Critical Architectural Histories – in conjunction with the inauguration of the Kenneth Frampton Book Collection. HKU (2016), The Speculative City: Emergent Forms and Norms of the Built Environment. HKU (2015), and 2020: Housing China Symposium. HKU (2013). Seng also serves as panel chair and discussant in many conferences, including the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), International Association of the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE), Southeast Asian Architectural Research Collaborative (SEAARC), Docomomo International and Docomomo Hong Kong.
Recent lectures include, “Monsters, Sand and Towers: A Radical Tokyo Episode” (Cities in Asia – Tokyo, 2018), “Architecture of Artifacts” (Anthology Architecture and Design Festival 2017, Instituto Carvantes of Manila and Intramuros Administration, Philippines, 2017), “Habitat, c1976: Transnational technologies, modern domesticities in Singapore and Hong Kong,” (Global Architecture in the 1970s: Science, Technology, Environment, the School of Architecture Victoria University of Wellington, 40 Year Anniversary 1975-2015 Symposium, 2016), “Architecture of Artifacts: Excerpts of a Diaspora Manifesto” (Monash University, Melbourne; UTS, Sydney; Queensland University, Brisbane, 2015), “Modern Dream Homes: Early Twentieth Century Houses in Hong Kong and Beyond” (Docomomo Public Lecture Series, HDC Hong Kong, 2014), “Cities in Buildings” (Hong Kong Platforms Symposium, HKU Hong Kong, 2014), and “Collective Dwelling in Hong Kong, 1950- & Seven Tactics” (Washington University Hong Kong Workshop, 2012).
Seng frequently presents SKEW’s work to a wide range of audiences such as at the Singapore Polytechnic, Anthology Festival, Manila; Monash University, UT Sydney and University of Queensland (“Architecture of Artifacts: Excerpts of a Diaspora Manifesto,” 2015), Princeton University (“Artifacticity: the Things that should matter to Architects, or, How to stop worrying about the Global,” Spring Lecture Series, 2013), Modern Asian Architects Network (MAAN) Conference, Singapore (2010), Anyang Public Art Project, Korea (2009), Asian Urban Lab Singapore and Tongji University (2006, 2007), the Guest Lecture Series at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Institute of Architects (2007), the Asia-GSD Lecture Series at Harvard University (2006), and ERA World Design Congress in Copenhagen (2005).
As co-director of the 2017 Singapore Institute of Architects Archifest in Singapore themed Building Agency, SENG organized and co-convened over fifty events, including the Conference at ArchExpo held in Marina Bay Sands Conference and a panel discussion on Women in Architecture. At SKEW Collaborative, Seng directs design research and has exhibited their work at a number of international platforms, including Seoul Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (2017), Parasite Gallery, Hong Kong (2015), Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale (2007-08 2009-10, 2013-14, 2017-18), 2020 Housing China, Hong Kong (2013), Chengdu Biennale (2011), Singapore Hub-to-Hub Public Art Program (2011), 100% Design Exhibition, Shanghai (2009), You-Prison Exhibition at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2008), Art Asia Pacific, Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair (2007), Organized Spaces Exhibition at the New York Asian American Art Center (2005), Shanghai Contemporary Art Exhibition (2005), Get-It-Louder Exhibition in Shanghai & Beijing (2005), Venice Biennale (2004), Singapore Art Festival 2004, and SENI Art Festival at the Singapore Art Museum (2004).
Teaching & Supervision
At HKU, Seng supervises PhD, MPhil and MArch thesis. She teaches core and elective undergraduate and graduate courses on the history and theory of Architecture and Urbanism, architectural and urban design. These include a research postgraduate course on Research Methods (ARCH6057), a lecture course on the History and Theory of Modern Architecture (ARCH2058/ARCH7173), an elective seminar, “ReBuilding Utopia: Visions of architecture in the post-war world” (ARCH6111) and a common core course, “Architecture and Film” (CCHU9034). Seng is also a guest lecturer for the faculty foundation course “Housing & Cities.” She is a member of the Faculty’s Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities Initiative (AUHI) and the Affordable Housing Research Network (AHRN).