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Speech by FS at Inauguration Ceremony of School of Architecture, CUHK (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the inauguration ceremony of the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong this afternoon (January 15):

Professor (Lawrence) Lau (Vice-Chancellor of the CUHK), Professor Ho (Puay Peng, Director of the School of Architecture), Professor (Tunney) Lee, Carrie, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon to you all.

     It is indeed a great pleasure of mine to join you all for the inauguration of the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

     This new school marks the start of a new era in architectural studies at CUHK.  No doubt it will help to build on the strong foundations that were first laid down in 1991 with the establishment of the previous Department of Architecture.

     The school is one of two in Hong Kong offering professional degree programmes in architecture.  It provides an important platform for education and research in architectural design and related fields.

     Over the past two decades, CUHK has gained a well-earned reputation for architectural education.  It excels in both teaching and research in areas ranging from green and sustainable architectural design to urban planning to building technology, etc.

     Perhaps most importantly, students learn about the enormous contribution this profession can make to society.  I was impressed to learn about your involvement in reconstruction work in the earthquake-hit region of Sichuan.

     By applying research findings to the reconstruction of the New Bud Primary School in Sichuan, CUHK students are already helping to improve the lives of others.

     Great architecture is not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, it links people with the environment.  In recent years, there have been growing concerns about the quality and sustainability of our built environment.  Green and sustainable architectural design may provide the solution.  This is an area where Government, academia and industry are working together for a cleaner and greener future for our city.

     Sustainable designs take environmental, social, aesthetic and economic demands into account.  They provide green solutions, energy-efficient buildings, better air ventilation, and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

     I am pleased that the school has established the Environmental and Sustainable Design Unit.  The unit conducts extensive research on the environmental and sustainable design of buildings and urban spaces.  It places special emphasis on Hong Kong's unique high-density tropical living environment.  This research will help promote best practices in green and sustainable designs in our city and our region.

     As our nation, and in particular the Pearl River Delta region, continues to develop at a very rapid pace, your new building technologies and innovations will be put to the sternest test.  At the same time, there will be new and exciting opportunities for our architects to contribute to local and regional development.

     As Larry has just mentioned, I received my university education in architecture.  I know full well the pressure that architecture students are under - burning the midnight oil to complete studio projects and assignments.  Sometimes I think is just habit to work late. I am sure that this new school will give you even greater motivation in achieving your professional goals.  The experience and knowledge that you gain here is not only about drawing sketches and building models - it is also about developing a passion to serve the community with your professional skills and creativity.

     On the subject of passion for architecture, I am thrilled that Professor Tunney Lee is here with us today.  During my days at MIT, I had the privilege of working with Professor Lee in Urban Planning.  I am delighted that students here at CUHK are continuing to benefit from his incredible vision and his extensive experience.  Professor Lee has had a profound influence on architectural education on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, for which we are all grateful.  Thank you, Tunney.

     Another eminent architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, once said, and I quote: "A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart."  

     With its well-structured programmes, world-class teaching staff and state-of-the-art facilities, I am confident that the School of Architecture will cultivate locally trained professionals who have the passion and the heart to serve our community.
     Lastly, warmest congratulations on the inauguration of the School of Architecture.  I wish the school, its staff and its students every success.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, January 15, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:49


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