Building a modern city: Legacies of residential development and architectural adaptation in colonial Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article focuses on the relationship between property developers and architects in colonial Hong Kong in the 1920s to 1930s, identifying a successful collaboration within the architectural development company, the Crédit Foncier d'Extrême-Orient (CFEO). Benefiting from new plots of land made available on the Kowloon Peninsula and the opportunity to plan new neighbourhoods for both Western and Chinese clientele, the directors of CFEO negotiated with their in-house architects regarding land speculation and residential typology preferences while targeting the middle-class market. The company's demolished buildings left a crucial gap in the urban history of Hong Kong and China's treaty ports only recently uncovered through archival research by the author. Drawing upon in-depth primary data research and interviews with the architects' descendants, this article probes into early twentieth-century residential development in Hong Kong, revealing how certain Western entrepreneurs and architects experimented with unique adaptations of architectural typologies suited to the local environment in the Chinese urban landscape. Copyright © 2017 The Royal Asiatic Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-353
JournalJournal of the Royal Asiatic Society
Volume28
Issue number2
Early online dateOct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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architect
Hong Kong
typology
urban history
speculation
treaty
entrepreneur
middle class
director
building
twentieth century
China
Modern Cities
Colonies
market
interview
Orient

Bibliographical note

Lau, L. K. P. (2018). Building a modern city: Legacies of residential development and architectural adaptation in colonial Hong Kong. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 28(2), 339-353. doi: 10.1017/S1356186317000517