Minnette de Silva｜Tariq Jazeel｜Shirley Surya｜Wang Chiu-hwa｜Hsu Li-yu｜Julia Fung｜Eunice Seng｜Corrin Chan｜Thomas Chung｜Anna Kwong｜Cole Roskam｜Winnie Ho｜Wallace Chang｜Joan Leung｜Koon Wee｜Nora Leung｜Marisa Yiu｜Joanlin Au｜Clover Lee
Minnette de Silva
Minnette de Silva (1918–1998) was a pioneering Sri Lankan architect whose contributions to architecture in South Asia have only been recently acknowledged. With her home plundered upon her death, the only documentation of de Silva’s practice is her autobiography The Life and Work of an Asian Woman Architect (1998). Trained at Mumbai’s Sir J. J. School of Art and London’s Architectural Association, de Silva was an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the only Asian participant in the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM). In the first fifteen years of her independent practice, she sought to integrate modern architecture with local heritage to carve a ‘modern Ceylon architecture’ in postcolonial Sri Lanka. She taught in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong in the mid-1970s.
Tariq Jazeel articulates a sustained interest in Minnette de Silva’s life and work, and the eventual erasure of her contributions. His scholarly approach addresses the ways in which de Silva’s work illuminates the relationships between the politics of Sri Lankan cultural production, everyday life, and mid-twentieth century anti-colonial nationalism. The ideas are reflected in his 2013 book Sacred Modernity: Nature, Environment and the Postcolonial Geographies of Sri Lankan Nationhood. Jazeel’s research on de Silva also pushes at the methodological problematics of writing occluded histories and representing forms of postcolonial difference into representation, as explored in his 2019 publications Postcolonialism and Subaltern Geographies. Jazeel is Professor of Human Geography at University College London, where he founded and co-directs the Centre for the Study of South Asia and the Indian Ocean World.
Shirley Surya is Curator, Design and Architecture, at M+. Since 2012, she has contributed to shaping M+'s permanent collections through her research and acquisition of works that engage with plural modernities in greater China and South and Southeast Asia. She co-curated exhibitions including In Search of Southeast Asia through the M+ Collections (2018) and Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection (2014). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Arts in History of Design from the Royal College of Art.
Born in Beijing in 1925, Wang Chiu-hwa was trained in China’s first architecture school at the National Central University in Chongqing. She went on to study at the University of Washington and received a Master of Science in Architecture from Columbia University. Beginning in 1950, Wang designed numerous synagogues, schools, and residences across America, as well as the Centre for American Studies in Taipei, at the New York-based practice of her former tutor Percival Goodman. Upon returning to Taiwan in 1979, Wang taught and designed an apartment tower for her family and Taiwan’s first modern library at Chung Yuan Christian University. Between 1984 and 1991, she designed more libraries—earning her the title ‘mother of libraries’ in Taiwan—as well as research facilities in collaboration with J. J. Pan and Partners.
Based in Taipei, Hsu Li-yu is an architectural educator and practicing architect in the studio ARMU. She co-founded WAT (Women in Architecture Taiwan), an association focusing on raising the visibility of women architects in Taiwan by documenting and publicising their life and work. Invited as guest editor of the magazine published by the Architectural Institute of Taiwan, Hsu discussed in a special issue on the work of pioneering women architects Hsiu Tse-lan (1925–2016) and Wang Chiu-hwa. Hsu received her Master of Architecture from Yale University and PhD from the National Taiwan University Graduate Institute of Building and Planning.
Julia Fung is a former editor of Vision, an architecture and design magazine she co-founded with architects and artists Tao Ho, David Lung, and Suresh Sharma. She also worked on the regionally influential magazine Asian Architect and Builder during her time as editor at Thomson Press between 1976 and 1984. She subsequently served as Senior Information Officer of the Hong Kong Information Services Department in the Overseas Public Relations division. She is currently the director of a gallery that showcases Asian art through publications and international exhibitions. She has also published three books of her poetry. Fung received her Bachelor of Social Science degree in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Hong Kong.
Eunice Seng is Associate Professor and Chair of the PhD programme in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. She is also one of the principals of SKEW Collaborative, an architecture and research practice based in Hong Kong and Shanghai. An architect and architectural historian, she explores the intersection of architecture, housing, domesticity, and public space, as well as questions of agency in this context. She recently completed a book titled Resistant City: Histories, Maps and the Architecture of Development. Seng holds a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and a PhD from Columbia University.
Corrin Chan is Vice-President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. She started practicing architecture in New York and Hawaii before returning to Hong Kong in 1992 to join a local architectural firm. In 1998, she founded her own practice Axis of Spin Architecture. Viewing architecture as a cultural medium to engage with communities, she has contributed to many architectural forums, exhibitions, publications, competitions, and community projects. These include the ‘100 Years of Architecture in Hong Kong’, a project initiated by the institute to document the city’s architectural history. Chan holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Hong Kong and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University.
Thomas Chung is Associate Professor of the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the chief editor of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects Journal. His research focuses on how architecture contributes to urban culture. A co-curator of Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape, the Hong Kong Exhibition at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Chung has been involved in curating the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture since 2008. Chung graduated from the University of Cambridge and has practiced in the United Kingdom.
Anna Kwong is the managing director of Anna Kwong Architects and Associates and was the first female president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects from 2009 to 2010. Graduating from the University of Hong Kong in 1974, she has been active in preserving the city’s cultural heritage. She was awarded Honourable Mention in 2003 and Award of Merit in 2005 by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Office for her participation in the conservation of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Caine Road and St Joseph’s Chapel at Yim Tin Tsai village, Sai Kung. She has been involved in community service for many years, sitting on local, regional, and international committees of various non-governmental organisations. She has been on government boards since her college days. Her volunteer service to the community was recognised with a Medal of Honour awarded by the HKSAR government.
Cole Roskam is Associate Professor of Architectural History in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. His articles and essays have appeared in Architectural History, Artforum International, Grey Room, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. His first book, titled Improvised City: Architecture and Governance in Shanghai, 1843–1937, was published by the University of Washington Press. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College, and his Master of Arts and PhD from Harvard University.
Winnie Ho is Deputy Director of Architectural Services in Hong Kong. Since joining the Architectural Services Department as an architect in 1992, she has focused on the development of public buildings, infrastructure, and urban planning. When she first started at the department, she designed buildings for schools; government offices; and leisure, culture, and sports activities. In 2010, Ho was appointed Deputy Head of Energizing Kowloon East Office by the Development Bureau, where she took up the initiative to transform Kowloon East from an old industrial area into a core business district to support Hong Kong’s long-term economic development. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Hong Kong.
Wallace Chang is Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and Director of Arch Design Architects. He is Chairman of 1a Space and Director of the Urban Place Research Unit. An architect and urban theorist, he advocates for the conservation of communities, such as homes for the elderly in Shek Tsai Leng, Sheung Shui. Chang obtained his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Hong Kong and Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Joan Leung is founder and managing director of Lotus Architects. With her international background and perspective, she was at the forefront of Hong Kong architecture in the 1980s. She won design competitions for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the revitalisation of the Western Market. Deeply engaged with architectural practice, community work, and academia, Leung is an active proponent of architectural education. In the 2000s, she set up the Professor Eric Lye Architectural Education Fund, and later, the annual Eric Lye Memorial Travelling Scholarship in memory of her late husband Professor Eric Lye, former Dean of the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Architecture from Manchester University and Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Koon Wee is Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong, the founding director of the Cities in Asia Summer Program, and the founding principal of SKEW Collaborative. He served as the Academic Director of the HKU Shanghai Study Center between 2008 and 2011. His research focuses on the sociopolitical and urban effects of industrialisation and modernisation in Asian cities in the twentieth century, and the transnational formation of Asian modernism. He obtained his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Western Australia and Master of Architecture from Yale University.
Nora Leung has practiced architecture for thirty-nine years. She worked in association with Paul Rudolph for eleven years, during which she took part in the design of Bond Centre (now Lippo Centre), as part of Wong & Ouyang, and unbuilt schemes of the Harbour Road Office and Hotel Tower and the Plantation Road Residence. To document these projects, Leung published Experiencing Bond Centre (1991) and curated Paul Rudolph: The Hong Kong Journey (2018) at the Center for Architecture in New York. For twenty-seven years, she worked as part of Chau, Ku & Leung (CKL) which she co-founded with Stephen Ku in 1991. At CKL, Leung designed public housing, schools, and community-oriented projects including Tak Long Estate and Canossa Hospital. Her design for Holiday Inn Soho Hotel won four platinum awards. Leung is a member of the board of Zonta Club, which focuses on empowering women.
Marisa Yiu, a strong advocate of design in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, co-founded in 2005 the award-winning multi-disciplinary architecture studio ESKYIU with Eric Schuldenfrei. She was Chief Curator of the 2009 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Board Member of Ambassadors of Design, and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 2007 to 2014. With a public mission, she co-founded Design Trust in 2014, and as Executive Director, she has been instrumental in driving the growth of the grant-funding platform. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and Master of Architecture from Princeton University.
Joanlin Au is Director of JA Design Architects, which she founded in 1997. Her practice has received multiple awards including First Prize for the Ship Street Revitalisation Project in Wan Chai. A graduate of the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong in 1979, Au began her career with D. A. Russell and Associates in Hong Kong. In 1983, she was the first woman architect from Hong Kong to join the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters design team. She worked on the project for three years, designing customised details and developing technical reports. Au is also a Chinese ink artist with works in private collections. She was formerly Vice President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, and is now a Fellow of the Institute.
Clover Lee is Director of plusClover, an architecture and design practice she founded in 2001. Originally based in Los Angeles, she relocated to her hometown of Hong Kong in 2009. Her practice favours collaboration, with a diverse portfolio of residential interiors and retail design projects. Lee has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; Rice University; and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and Master of Design Studies from Harvard University.