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Speech by SCED at HKIA Welcoming Dinner for 17th Asian Congress of Architects (English only)

  Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) Welcoming Dinner for the 17th Asian Congress of Architects today (September 27):

Vincent (President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Mr Vincent Ng), President Nui (President of the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA), Mr Sathirut Nui Tandanand), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

  I am honoured and delighted to join you all this evening. First of all, a very warm welcome to the Architects Regional Council Asia and its member institutes. For our distinguished guests who have come from afar, I hope you enjoy your stay in Hong Kong.

  Hong Kong is a diverse and pluralistic community. Our diversity is reflected in our mix of old and new, and among others, Western and Chinese architecture. Our city has indeed an amazing architectural scenery. The Government House where our Chief Executive received some of you yesterday was built in the 1850s and is a declared monument. The very place where we are having our dinner this evening, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, is recognised as one of the modern architectural convention and exhibition buildings in the region.

  This Government, in collaboration with the private sector, is working hard on heritage conservation by putting historic buildings to adaptive re-use and turning them into creative landmarks. Our recent addition to the list, PMQ, is a case in point. Revitalised from a former police quarters, PMQ has been turned into a place of design and city chic where many young designers showcase their products and services.

  For a city thrilled with architecture, Hong Kong is honoured that ARCASIA has chosen Hong Kong as the host city for the 17th Asian Congress of Architects, or ACA17 in short. ARCASIA is an important regional body for promoting the interests and development of the Asian architectural profession as well as facilitating mutual co-operation among member institutes. We are glad to welcome ARCASIA back to our city after hosting the ARCASIA Forum in 1993. For the architectural profession in particular, our city abounds with opportunities. We are developing the West Kowloon Cultural District into one of the world's largest cultural quarters, blending art, education and public space. We are also transforming the former industrial district at Kowloon East into a central business district. The creativity, professionalism and dedication of the architectural sector are fundamental to the success of these mega projects.

  To us, architecture is also a creative industry. To this end, we support the Hong Kong Institute of Architects to organise this Congress. We also support the Hong Kong Exhibition at the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition and the Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Hong Kong) which serve to raise the profile of our architecture in international and local arenas. I look forward to more opportunities in working with the architectural sector to make our city a better and more sustainable place to live in.

  The theme of the Congress this year, "Growth and Diversity: The Green Age of Asia", is most timely and inspirational. How to build a sustainable future and to ensure that our future generations can continue to thrive in a clean and green environment is one of the most significant questions people around the world are trying to address. I am glad to be part of this discussion here, and I am sure there will be lots of fruitful exchanges on this topic at the Congress later this week.

  On this note, may I congratulate the Hong Kong Institute of Architects on staging ACA17 for bringing together the key stakeholders in the architectural profession of the region.

  I wish you all a very enjoyable evening.

  Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:05