Hong Kong architect Alice Cheung founded My ArchiSchool to nurture future architects who could design a better world
What inspired you to found My ArchiSchool?
I was inspired by Arkki, the School of Architecture for Children and Youth in Finland that teaches children architecture for a better understanding of their community. I was also triggered by the experience of serving as the interviewer for the Hong Kong Institute of Architects' professional assessments for architects' licences, during which I found the candidates needed more support and guidance to perform to their best as they struggled to pass the examinations.
My ArchiSchool was established by a group of architecture lovers from all walks of life including scholars, professional builders, design consultants and lawyers, with the mission to "let our future architects design a better world". We are not only supporting the youth; we also need them to support our society.
How important is it to teach children about architecture at a young age?
Children experience the world every day with wonder. It is important to challenge them to make a better world, and our responsibility to answer their questions. That's why environmental education and architecture should start as soon as they start experiencing the world.
How have My ArchiSchool and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) collaborated?
We collaborated with HKTDC at DesignInspire in 2017, when they turned the focus from a design-trade expo to a public design expo. We were invited to exhibit our architectural works and also volunteered to create free bamboo scaffolding workshops for children, allowing them to understand more about the industry and interact with professional bamboo masters. We will definitely volunteer again for such children's architecture workshops, as HKTDC is effectively building a design network for the whole territory.
Children experience the world every day with wonder. It is important to challenge them to make a better world, and our responsibility to answer their questions.
What was your involvement in HKTDC's DesignInspire?
How was the experience and your reception? I was the chief co-ordinator for the architectural workshops and My ArchiSchool's first exhibition at DesignInspire 2017, where I adopted eight-year-old Oscar Chung's design for a floating aquarium for the exhibition stand. I pulled in different professionals such as BIM and VR specialists, bamboo masters and building teams to establish a parallel realm between the real world and children's ideas of it. It was an extraordinary experience and meant so much to the children when they saw their designs realised in the real world, providing an excellent interactive interface for the child designers and the visitors.
How does DesignInspire play a part in raising the public's interest in and awareness of Hong Kong designs?
Hong Kong needs a territory-wide design event, giving designers a chance to interact with the public. I appreciate HKTDC's vision in accepting experimental design. I look forward to more collaborative opportunities with them, as architects and designers always look for partners.