HK architects launch book to boost Monday, April 6 2009
Architectural giant Aedas is contributing
to the reconstruction of quakeravaged
Sichuan with the launch of a
book that showcases more than 50 of
its award-winning buildings around
For every copy of the book sold, more than HK$70 will go to Homes for Hope, a South China Morning Post initiative to help rebuild Sichuan. An estimated HK$500,000 of the total sales proceeds would go towards the fund, the firm's chairman, Keith Griffiths, said.
The book is available at the Swindon, Kelly & Walsh bookstore and the Hong Kong Book Centre. Travels with Aedas will feature some of firmmA!As best-known designs, including a spaceship-like centre in Singapore and a September 11 memorial and museum in New York.
In the book, Aedas designers explain the ideas behind the structures, including a commercial building with a twisted spine in Dubai and the Venetian Macao, where more than 600 moulds of arches, windows and frames were used to evoke the Italian city of Venice inside the casino. The book shows how architects interact with the community they work in.
Starting in Beijing and finishing in Sao Paulo, it takes readers on a journey through 23 cities.
The book is likely to appeal both to architecture buffs and travel lovers; it offers more than 60 tips on recreational activities for visitors to the cities, and shares the thoughts of more than 40 architects.
"The architects' role is not just to design buildings, but is also to integrate and help the community," Mr Griffiths said.
Agood design was one that added to the well-being of users, he said. Footbridges in Central, for example, were a wonderful network that allowed people to walk from one building to another.
A sense of social responsibility prompts Aedas' support for the reconstruction of Sichuan.
Right after the earthquake last May 12, the company launched a two-for-one programme. "For every dollar its staff donated to a selected charity, the senior management donated another HK$2 on the company's behalf, and we ended up with a donation of HK$1.2 million," Aedas managing director Kyran Sze said. The firm also set up a provisional training centre in its office in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, to teach technical knowledge about building houses, in the hope more people could help in the reconstruction, Mr Sze said.
Aedas also plans to roll out a design competition for the best housing models applicable to Sichuan villages.
Anneliese O'Young, the author of the book, was proud of her involvement in the nine-month project. "I met a lot of forward-looking and passionate architects," O'Young said. "What I enjoy the most are ones with design solutions unique to the community."
The Homes for Hope project by the Post aims to raise more than HK$18 million to help rebuild in excess of 1,000 homes for more than 2,400 people as well as provide essential services for two of the hardest-hit villages in Sichuan - Qingquan, north of Chengdu, and the Shengnan new village in the scenic nature reserve of Jiuzhaigou.