HKU International Summer Program in Architecture: Cities in Asia: Studio SHA-HKG

HKU International Summer Program in Architecture: Cities in Asia: Studio SHA-HKG


Program Directors: H. Koon Wee & Darren Zhou

Studio SHA-HKG is a three-week architectural design and research studio organized by the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture in the cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Taught by a diverse group of faculty members from the University of Hong Kong, and other internationally renowned universities and research groups, the course offers participants a design studio experience within Asia’s most vibrant contexts.

The International Summer Program in Architecture positions Hong Kong as a launch pad to other Asian cities, starting strategically with the city of Shanghai. This summer program has the benefit of tapping into the vast wealth of expertise from Asian Urban Lab – a non-profit research organization based in Singapore. In particular, this summer program will also include a short program with students from the China Academy of Art’s Department of Architecture led by Wang Shu and Wang Fei. Since its inception in 2008, HKU academic programs in Shanghai have benefitted from on-going exchanges and joint studios with leading universities such as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, NYU, AA, ETH and EPFL, as well as regional universities such as Tongji, China Academy of Art, Tianjin and others.

Fundamental to the study of architecture and cities is the question of rapid urbanization and innovation on the multiple fronts of society, culture and the economy. Cities in east China and the Pearl River Delta serve as platforms for the understanding of such issues, especially in the current neo-liberal world of urbanization, where international corporations have grown far more powerful than sovereign governments. Saskia Sassen notes that it is precisely because cities are no longer within the realms of national politics, they naturally become the new frontiers where the “political informal” can thrive within the infrastructure and systems of cities without overt control.

Through this course, participants will focus on different architecture and building types that have emerged from the current state of rapid urbanization. These building types are unique in the way they resist and subvert, or become mutated or subsumed by the prevailing urban conditions of Shanghai and Hong Kong. The design and research studio would be based on the examination and re-invention of a number of these building types.

Participants will have the benefit of visiting numerous cities under-going massive change, exploring broad-ranging issues such as identity, colonialism, nationalism and globalization through topics in architectural history and theory. This program will include study trips to the cities of Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Macau and Shenzhen. In support of the design and research studio, a daily lecture program will further enrich the participants’ knowledge in these fields.


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