Following is the full text of the speech (English only) delivered by the Acting Financial Secretary, Mr Stephen Ip, at the 15th Anniversary Celebrations of The Architectural Services Department tonight (April 19):
SH (Pau), SS Lee, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here today in this historic building, seeing many old friends and to be celebrating this happy occasion - the 15th anniversary of the Architectural Services Department.
I think I could safely say that 15 years is not a very long time for a government department. But then in the Hong Kong context, it is significantly older than many of the buildings which have been mushrooming throughout the city over the past decade. And, of course, the Department was designed, so to speak, from the old Architectural Office. So your history goes back a lot longer.
Frank Lloyd Wright once said that a doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines. I would like to think the reason we don't see too many vineyards in Hong Kong is that there haven't been too many mistakes made by our architects!
The shape, the angles, the style and the statement they make have stamped Hong Kong as 'arguably the world's most outstanding example of an architectural matrix'. And occasionally peeping through the glass walled skyscrapers of the city or in the countryside are glimpses of the past. Buildings that, in many cases, have been restored or renovated with the professionalism of the Architectural Services Department.
And there is possibly no more fitting place to celebrate this anniversary than here at the Museum of Coastal Defence. What you have achieved here is without doubt a tribute to the work of all the staff of ArchSD. You have combined the old with the innovative.
The historical structures of the Lei Yue Mun Fort have been carefully restored, yet you have incorporated this imaginative design to provide an aesthetically pleasing environment for visitors. I can see why it has won the Hong Kong Institute of Architect's highest prize - the Silver Medal. And you can be equally proud of the many other awards over the years, including two more recent examples for the Hong Kong Garden at Kunming, as part of the International Horticultural Exposition, and the visitor centre at Hong Kong Wetland Park.
I wish, SH, to add my congratulations to the staff of Architectural Services Department. You have done a great job over the past 15 years. I am sure the standards you have set will be the benchmark for the department's work in the years ahead.
Thank you very much.
End/Thursday, April 19, 2001