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AIA Honors & Awards 2015

The American Institute of Architects’ Hong Kong Chapter celebrates architecture and design once again. Tamsin Bradshaw checks out this year’s winners and honourable mentions.

Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo, AIA Hong Kong Honors & Awards 2015


BY Janice Seow

October 1st, 2015


AIA Hong Kong held its annual Honors & Awards ceremony and reception on Wednesday 30 September, recognising the design efforts of AIA-member architects in Hong Kong, China and the Asia Pacific as a whole.

A membership association for U.S.-licensed architects, young professionals and those in the building and construction industries, the American Institute of Architects has some 83,000 members around the world. Its Hong Kong Chapter is the largest international branch, covering much of the Asia Pacific region.

The annual awards consider submissions in Architecture, Interiors, Urban Design and Unbuilt. This year, the Hong Kong Chapter received just under 70 entries across the four categories, says Gregory Leong, Chair of the AIA.

Nelson Chen Architects, St Andrews Church Life Centre
St Andrew’s Church Life Centre by Nelson Chen Architects

The Design Jury chose eight winners from amongst the many submissions, each of which was presented to the jurors without any identifying information. The jury consisted of Michael Ngu from Singapore’s architects61, Leslie Lu of the Hong Kong Design Institute and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Training, Hannes Pfau from UNStudio in Amsterdam, Michael Thanner of Tange Associates in Tokyo, and Dr. Rocco Yim of Rocco Design Architecture in Hong Kong. “They’re distinguished professionals from abroad as well as being locally based,” says Leong.

The jurors awarded one Honor Award, giving this to Nelson Chen Architects Ltd. for St. Andrew’s Church Life Centre in Kowloon. Recipients of the Merit Awards included CL3 Architects Ltd.’s design for the interiors of Millennium Mitsui Garden Hotel Tokyo, and arvato Shanghai Headquarters by M Moser Associates.

arvato Shanghai headquarters, M Moser Associates, AIA Hong Kong Honors & Awards 2015
arvato’s Shanghai headquarters by M Moser

A number of the winning submissions demonstrated sustainable qualities, including the Wolong Lake Waterfront Park by AECOM. The architecture firm is involved in creating a new, urban community for 600,000 people on the shores of this nature reserve – as part of its plans, wetland areas will be extended and there will be a Sustainability Education Center. The Huishan North Bund project in Shanghai, by Perkins Eastman, also demonstrates eco characteristics: this mixed-use, office-led development “talks about using the water in the river as a cooling agent,” explains Leong. A submerged HVAC plant and pump room will create a microclimate for the plaza and its buildings.

Wolong Lake, Jinji Lake, Aecom, architecture, urban planning, AIA Hong Kong Honors & Awards 2015
AECOM is working on a vast urban planning project on Wolong Lake in China

Also impressive – and winner of the Merit Award for Unbuilt Project & Sustainable Design Award – is the Timber Scooper, dreamed up by Upscaling Operations Ltd as a way of treating recycled wood. “The transformational process in a way celebrates the history of the wood itself and at the same time allowed the material to be reborn,” said the jurors in their comments on why they chose the Timber Scooper.

Timber Scooper, AIA Hong Kong Honors & Awards 2015, unbuilt winner, sustainability, Upscaling Operations Ltd
The effects of the Timber Scooper, winner of the Merit Award for Unbuilt Project & Sustainable Design Award

Each of the winners, and the submissions in general, demonstrated out-of-box thinking and innovative approaches to problems such as urban density, waste, recycling and design as a whole. “All the design quality is there,” says Leong. “The submissions should be considered top-notch.”

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