We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 1st and Student prize winner of our “SKYHIVE 2019 Skyscraper Challenge” competition - Ka Wah Francis Cheung from Hong Kong!
Ka Wah Francis Cheung from Hong Kong
I am a fresh BArch graduate from The University of Hong Kong. From my four-year architecture studies and past intern experiences, I developed a passion towards innovative designs. Being taught by Professor Michael Kokora, the former partner of OMA, in my fourth year semester, trained me to develop comprehensive conceptual designs independently through intense model making, sketching and photography. I am highly motivated to initiate radical ideas and experiment novel designs. Think out of the box! Architecture is never too boring nor difficult when one has imagination.
I have gained working experience as an intern at several international companies, such as Benoy and MTR. More recently after graduation, I was highly involved in a 2-week skyscraper design proposal, Shear Tower, with the team Object Territories. Not only is it a precious opportunity for the firm to step into the China market, it is the continuation of my final year project, Mobius Tower, to study skyscrapers and the debut of my architectural career. To learn more about Shear Tower, please refer to https://object-territories.com/shear-tower.
What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?
I studied science and visual arts during high school, so when I enrolled in university architecture was the hybrid where I could put together practicality and creativity. The first quarter of my architectural studies was a state of confusion and struggling as there was no specific way of learning it. I see architecture as an avenue of self-discovery and I realised architecture having multifaceted disciplines allows people of different interests or strengths to approach it in a very different way. Hong Kong is a city of money and speed. This stifles a lot of creative architects which end up doing repetitive or plagiarised designs. As young blood, I wish to break the status quo by allowing more creative thoughts to flow along the society, and to impress clients with innovative designs that are beneficial to both developers and the community.
Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?
After half a century of contemporary architecture development, it reaches the bottleneck where designs start to repeat. Scholars have defined architectural typologies and architects have a certain architectural stereotype. It is time the architects start envisioning architecture in an unconventional way. Why should all floor slabs along a skyscraper be identical? Why not a landscape in the sky? With the advent of high technology, we should embrace the future and develop more radical designs that will no longer be unbuildable sooner or later.
What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?
Architects are a group of creativity. If one has any unprecedented ideas, why not give it a try? There is never right or wrong for imaginations; a vision competition is a platform to provoke, express and discuss innovative ideas. I especially encourage design students like me to participate in more competitions where you can possibly incorporate your semester project with the competition brief. It would be an ideal opportunity to challenge yourself and to broadcast your brilliant design ideas.
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