Young Architects' Award Program Turns 21


This year the Asian Cultural Council celebrates the 21st anniversary of the Young Architects’ Award (YAA), a program carried out in collaboration with the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and funded by the Hsin Chong-K.N. Godfrey Yeh Education Fund.


The Young Architects’ Award was established in 1990 with the stated mission “to acknowledge the talent and achievements of young architects in Hong Kong and to nurture their potential and development through the broadening educational experience of cultural exchange.”


Thanks to the generosity and dedication of the Hsin Chong-K.N. Godfrey Yeh Education Fund, since 1990 the ACC has sent twenty-three young architects from Hong Kong to the United States on custom-tailored journeys of educational exposure and professional research. As a result of this track record, Hong Kong is now on the top of the ACC’s list for the number of grants awarded in architecture among the twenty countries in Asia within the program reach.


The Asian Cultural Council makes professional arrangements for the architects while in the U.S., introducing them to counterparts at universities and in design firms and encouraging them to explore areas of the arts and culture that extend far beyond architecture.


For many of the YAA recipients, the fellowship has enabled them to make their first trip to the U.S. The experience is an eye-opening one for all and often has far-reaching results for the community. LegCo Member Patrick Lau credits his establishment of the Hong Kong Architecture Centre in 2005 as a direct result of his 1992 trip to the U.S. where, for the first time, he observed architecture centres that brought together professionals and the public. Vincent Ng (YAA 1994) is now an active member of the Harbourfront Commission and a dedicated activist for Hong Kong waterfront revitalization. He traces this passion back to his exposure to waterfront planning and development when visiting coastal cities in the U.S.


Paul Chu (YAA 2002) now serves as the head of the department of architecture at Chu Hai College. He looks back on his study trip to the U.S. as having an impact far deeper than that of exposure to architectural masterpieces. He writes:


“The YAA experience reinvigorates the young architect by offering a chance to reflect and reorientate. The title is more than an award, but rather a commitment--- commitment to the profession, commitment to the world and commitment to one’s self.”


To observe the 21st anniversary of the YAA, fourteen recipients of the award teamed up to present a joint exhibition entitled: “A.K.A.: The Hidden Dimensions of Architects" which reveals how architects contribute their talents and energy to serve the community in ways as volunteer designers, artists, educators and cultural leaders. The exhibition will be held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre from November 4 to 7, 2011.


Details of the exhibition can be found here.