監製：Tang Man Mei May
The mission of the architect is to fuse art and science to construct our city. Yet, in Hong Kong architecture is a commodity, stressing on functions and profit instead of individual style. That is why any generation of architects needs to choose between reality and dreams.
The economy of Hong Kong took off in the 80’s and 90’s and new towns were developed subsequently. The demand on residential projects was huge and property prices skyrocketed. At that time, there was only one university offering architecture degree course. Architects were of great demand and there was no worry of job opportunity. Vincent Ng, the current president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects graduated in 1985 and he was among the fortunate group. He conceded that there was plenty of work at that time and it was almost like following the flow. Today, he chooses to do communal projects, thinking that they provide more opportunity to excel than working for private developers. He wishes that he could revert to the people-oriented approach of design.
After the handover in 1997, the financial crisis took place and the property bubbles bursted. For “maximizing profit”, developers optimize all the permitted gross floor area which results in strange forms and names of buildings such as those creating the wall effect with high density and obstructive ventilation and views, corn-like buildings with stacked bay windows and cake-like residential buildings with gigantic platform. Bizarre plans also appear at the expense of residents’ fundamental living experience. Architectural graduates of this generation are not contented working for the property hegemony and are fearful of becoming just the developers’ draftsmen. Also, Hong Kong has developed into a city of high density and there is little room for architects to excel. Stephen Ip, an architect born in the 80’s, chooses to work in the mainland to execute his ideals. There are other architects treading the unbeaten path. Ricci Wong, Otto Ng and Yip Chun-hang set up an alternative architectural practice in 2013, specializing in small-scale projects such as interior design and art installation with their knowledge and skill. They hope to build another path and think that architects today should not resort to drawing and submitting plans but build by themselves to create a better living environment for the citizens.
Producer: Leo LAI