Green tour brought new architectural perspectives

Chung Wai-kin, final year BST student

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Green Tour 2008 Australia was indeed an eye-opening experience for me. The visit to the building housing the headquarters of property development company Stockland, in the heart of Sydney, impressed me most. Modified from an old building, the eight-storey office was totally constructed using green materials and methods. An atrium formed the core of the building, with stairs running through the eight floors. Inside the office, you can see plants everywhere. Not only does this design introduce plenty of natural light and fresh air, it also encourages the staff not to use the elevator so often.

I would not have had the opportunity to witness the spectacular design of the Stockland headquarters had I not participated in the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) Sustainable Architecture Design Student Project Award 2008 and won the double championships in the undergraduate category and the Travel Scholarship Award. City University of Hong Kong (CityU) always encourages its students to reach out and try new things; in fact, I owe my success to the support of all my teachers and BST.

More than 20 professional architects and students from different backgrounds took part in Green Tour 2008 Australia. We set off to Sydney on 12 September, followed by a visit to Melbourne. During the 10-day tour, we visited many green buildings such as Sydney Olympian Park, Council House II and Federal Square. Through these visits, we learnt about the design elements of contemporary Australian sustainable architecture. We also noticed the local support towards sustainable building and environmental protection.

Throughout the tour, we were accompanied by designers and professional architects who explained to us in detail their design concepts and the process of construction, as well as the incorporation of concepts and techniques into buildings. Sustainable buildings are not just something to shelter us against the elements but also artworks that manifest the coexistence of human nature. I look forward to seeing substantial growth of this type of architectural development in Hong Kong.

After the tour, I stayed in Melbourne to attend the Sustainable Building 2008 World Conference held from 22 to 25 September. Experts and scholars in the field of sustainable construction were invited to join the conference, which is held every three years. They presented their research findings on the technical developments and applications of sustainable construction and participated in seminars relating to the future development of sustainable construction.

Many CityU students from BST study at University of Melbourne and RMIT University. I visited these two universities in my spare time, accompanied by the BST alumni. They showed me the architecture department's design workshop and the campus as well as the dormitories, allowing me to experience the life of an overseas student.

On top of all the useful architecture lectures, CityU's BST division frequently organises overseas study tours in order to enrich the knowledge and broaden the horizons of students. Through this tour, I had the chance to meet professional architects from different countries and cultural backgrounds, which I believe will have long-term benefits for my future studies and future career.

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