No one has probably witnessed Hong Kong in all its glory – both varnished and unvarnished – like Ronald Liang. His architecture practice, LWK + Partners, has borne silent witness to history, its diverse portfolio reflective of Hong Kong’s evolution from British harbour stronghold to semiautonomous Chinese region.
The Kowloon-based firm has offices in both Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in mainland China. Its designers fan out all over the region, to commissions in Malaysia, the Middle East, and South Korea.
Liang, who serves as managing director, credits his father as the first of many tastemakers. “My father was born in a golden era of architecture in Shanghai. His descriptions and romanticising of art deco style were imprinted in my mind at an early age,” he recalls.
Australia furthered the culturing of Liang, who obtained his professional degree from the South Australian Institute of Technology in Adelaide. “In my high school days in Australia, I assisted an architectural student. This, and my experience with my father, influenced my life and cemented my desire to be an architect as a lifelong career.”
Liang’s due-paying years in Oz would serve him well on his return to Hong Kong, where he established LWK + Partners in 1986. “Compared to Hong Kong’s projects, Australian projects were of a smaller scale with much more emphasis on quality. This informed the basic DNA of the firm,” he says.
Professing a form-follows-function creed, LWK + Partners had its hand in the design of several Hong Kong public housing projects in the late 1980s. It would later cultivate a reputation for architecting high-rises, paralleling Hong Kong’s transformation into one of the world’s highest-density cities. The ONE in Hong Kong, for example, rises 171 metres—the tallest retail complex in Asia.
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December 2019 - January 2020