Building a Modern City: First-generation Chinese Architects in colonial Hong Kong, 1920s - 1950s

Project: Research project

Project Details


With the first group of overseas-educated Chinese architects returning to colonial Hong Kong in the 1920s-30s and establishing themselves as the pioneers of designing the modern city, this period witnessed the first signs of urban modernisation in Hong Kong. However, compared to Shanghai, Hong Kong was often deemed as the lesser “other”. A decade and a half has passed since this statement, and renewed research and discoveries in academic circles, including this research, will place a new dimension and perspective in the previously underrated and neglected architectural and urban landscape of Hong Kong. This research documents demolished buildings and preserves surviving works of Hong Kong and Chinese architects, effectively repositioning local architectural history and modern cultural heritage abroad and in Hong Kong. It will lay the foundations for public heritage educational work, delineate how the architecture reacted to Western colonial prototypes while adapting to Chinese traditions in the early twentieth century, and improve the current heritage policy to preserve the unique cultural heritage landscape in Hong Kong and Chinese architecture.

Funding Source: RGC - Early Career Scheme (ECS)
Effective start/end date01/01/1630/06/18


  • modern architecture
  • first-generation architects
  • Hong Kong
  • colonial period
  • 1920s-1950s


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