Speech by CS at Hong Kong Institute of Architects' "REVEAL 2" exhibition opening ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (September 9) at the opening ceremony of the "REVEAL 2" exhibition organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA):

Vincent (President of the HKIA, Mr Vincent Ng), fellow members of the HKIA, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. It really gives me great pleasure to join you today at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects' "REVEAL 2" exhibition "For the City. For the Community. + - x ÷". Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the HKIA on its 60th anniversary. I understand that this exhibition is one of the highlights of the celebrations.

     But what has prompted the Institute to host for a second time this "REVEAL" exhibition is, I believe, the high-quality artistic talents of our architects, from calligraphy and painting to installations and photography, so successfully showcased at the inaugural "REVEAL" in 2013, in this same place, also officiated by me. Indeed, my acceptance of this invitation in addition to my agreeing to attend this year's HKIA Dinner later in November is due to that same appreciation and admiration of our architects' multi-faceted talents. What further amazed me three years ago was the time some of my architectural colleagues in the civil service, such as Ada Fung, have spent on doing painting despite their heavy official commitments. I thus came to the conclusion that artistic creation is an effective way to relieve work pressure. I am therefore keen to come and find further talents in the architectural profession, or what I would call pressure cookers in the civil service!

     The Institute has chosen the theme "For the City. For the Community. + - x ÷" for this exhibition. This is in line with the Institute's mission to foster a link between the art of architecture and the community through promoting the appreciation of architectural designs. Architecture and community should always be part of each other. Spatial design allows people to strengthen their interaction and build their social identities, and thus plays an important role in nurturing social cohesion. I have done the touring of the exhibition, which will present beautiful works of art with a variety of media to demonstrate the architects' relationship with the society and engagement with the city's habitants.

     Having read and heard so much about the High Line Park in New York City, I finally had the opportunity of visiting this wonderful urban green project during my official trip to the US in June this year. I think this project echoes the theme of this exhibition and has demonstrated fully the powerfulness of architecture and urban design in bringing a community together and through which has added vibrancy and character to the city.

     In autographing a book on the High Line for me, James Corner thanked me for my own vision for Hong Kong. This is clearly an overstatement but I do take pride in the progress made in some of the community-based public engagement initiatives I launched during my tenure as the Secretary for Development. One of these is Energizing Kowloon East.

     Since its announcement in 2011, the place-making approach adopted in Kowloon East has created more urban space for the local community for art, culture, sports and other activities, like the Streetathon organised by RunOurCity and other water sports activities in the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter. We already have more than a hundred events held by local communities in the venue of Fly the Flyover01 (FF01) under the Kwun Tong Bypass. FF02 and 03 will come next year with more community space for music, art, urban farming and eating places along the Kwun Tong waterfront. Our other projects like improvement of back alleys and Tsun Yip Street Playground not only enhance the environment but also provide good opportunities for participation by young talents in the field of art and design.

     It is our vision to develop this compactly built city into an efficient, practical and smart metropolis. Kowloon East is our testing ground for this. The feasibility of using technology to enhance walkability and disseminating information to the public in digital format is being explored, with a view to making the area a better place to work and play. Energizing Kowloon East provides clear evidence that despite the often complained rigidity of government departments, amazing and unconventional things could happen if people want them to happen. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all my civil service colleagues involved in the Kowloon East initiative over the past five years.

     With this note, may I wish this exhibition a remarkable success, and I hope you enjoy the terrific art works showcased in this exhibition as much as I do. Thank you very much.

Ends/Friday, September 9, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:45