One For AllInteriors begin with exteriors for the CPW

With Earth Day around the corner, Square Foot chats with Tris Kee, HKU Assistant Professor and the Director of the Community Project Workshop, a programme that aims to put into action all the greening and sustainability ideas that seem to get thrown around.

Can you tell us about your background and the history of CPW?
I received both a Bachelor and Master’s of Architecture from the University of Waterloo, and after receiving the Guild Medal and Royal Architectural Institute of Canada honours I worked in Rome, Amsterdam, Canada and London before settling in Hong Kong. Right now I’m co-curating the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Biennale Exhibition on Architecture and Urbanism in Kowloon Park. The CPW’s objectives are research and community-based projects. So far we’ve completed 30 projects.

What’s the mandate or style, if you will? Does sustainability have a style?
Sustainability does not have a prescribed mandate or style. Most of the definitions of sustainable development revolve around environmental sustainability, meaning greener buildings, savings on resources, reusing materials, recycling and reducing. The concept of sustainable buildings integrates a variety of strategies in their design, construction and operational processes. The use of green building materials and products represents one strategy in the design of a green building.

Past Projects
Which of your projects stands out for being particularly challenging or exciting?
There are a few remarkable sustainable buildings in Hong Kong. For example, the vertical green in the Hotel Icon in Kowloon; the EMSD Headquarters in Kwun Tong; and the solar panels at No. 1 Peking Road are some examples. The project I was involved in the construction of was is Phase 2 of the HK Science and Technology Park in Tai Po. That was completed in 2007, the Science Park won a Green Building Award in 2008 among others. And of course our latest completion, a flat in Pok Fu Lam. It was submitted for Green Building Award consideration for the interiors category this year.

Are there any trends that are really sticking out to you these days?
The trends are technical and include the implementation of vertical green walls, solar panels, operable vertical louvre facade system, hybrid natural ventilation, wind turbines, solar water heating, maximisation of daylight, light pipes, Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roofing, total energy management systems, rainwater recycling, use of recyclable and low VOC materials, and so forth.

Wish List
Do you have a wish list or a building you’d really like to try?
Yes. I’d love a better management programme to promote and educate the general public on green development.