About the Book
Hong Kong’s economic development has been achieved at an amazing rate. Associated with this rapid development is the steady increase in the number of new buildings covering the landscape of Hong Kong. Many of these buildings – viewed with respect to design, performance, functionality and aesthetics – compare well with those in most major cities in the world. The built landscape reflects the ingenuity and creativity of designers in Hong Kong, and has often won the admiration of visiting laymen and professionals alike. For this reason, several excellent and comprehensive books have been devoted to buildings in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s buildings – and the books which document them – reflect the creative ingenuity of their designers and provide a vivid testimony of the wealth of the city and its richness in culture. However, they do not reveal the construction processes through which the imagination of the designer becomes reality; and some of the construction processes are by no means less impressive then the buildings themselves.
This book, authored by Mr Raymond Wong, is unique not only because it is one of the very few publications devoted to the processes of construction in a systematic manner, but is also unique in its broad coverage, which ranges from buildings of common usage to those of monumental significance.
The selection of construction methods and techniques is significantly influenced by local conditions. Therefore, there are very few textbook solutions for solving problems that could be encountered in the real world of construction; each project produces a set of unique problems which makes construction a challenging undertaking. In Hong Kong, problems associated with construction because even more acute due to topographic features, historical development and the rapid pace of the SAR’s economic activities. The pertinent factors of all construction projects – physical space, time and cost – are highly restrictive compared to other cities.
The steep hills, narrow streets, congested and continuous traffic, virtually non-stop commercial activities and often disproportionately small building sites present challenges that the construction industry elsewhere seldom has to face. The prohibitively high land prices and financing costs demand that the overall construction duration be reduced to a minimum. The stringent environmental and safety-related regulations further increase the level of challenge to the construction industry in Hong Kong. Yet with all these difficulties, glittering buildings emerged triumphantly from the seemingly impossible sites. The skill and the creativity of Hong Kong’s construction industry cannot be better demonstrated.
This book is a pictorial documentation of the construction processes that made some of these incredible buildings possible. The photography requires the special combination of aesthetic mind and in-depth construction knowledge possessed by the author. These photographs are valuable not only because of their aesthetic value but more importantly, for their focus on construction processes and construction details, revealing the intricacies involved. The carefully prepared accompanying narration allows for further understanding of the skills and techniques employed. With these features, this book can be used as a pictorial text book for students of construction courses, and as a valuable reference to professionals in various building and construction disciplines. Because it is so aesthetically pleasing, this book will be appreciated by local residents and visitors alike.
The ability to overcome difficulties, coupled with the level of sophistication achieved in methods and techniques during the construction of these magnificent buildings – as shown in this book – demonstrate not only the capability of the construction industry in Hong Kong but also reflects the intrinsic qualities of people in this region: their hard-working spirit and their tenacity in pursuing excellence.
Dr Howard Wu
The Author: Raymond Wong Wai Man
Mr Wong is a lecturer at the Division of Building Science and Technology at the City University of Hong Kong. He has been a building industry professional since the late 1970s. Mr Wong is currently a member of the Chartered Institute of Building and the Hong Kong Institute of Building.
For the last five years, Wong has undertaken a series of intensive studies of Hong Kong’s world-renowned infrastructure and building projects. He is an active researcher in the construction of tall buildings, heavy structures, and industrialised construction systems. In the course of his studies, he has made numerous site visits, and has kept an in-depth photographic record of these visits.
Wong recently established a Photo/Information Library at City University of Hong Kong which covers all basic construction technology topics, as well as case studies for many recent building and infrastructure projects. This information contains significant academic value, and is also provides invaluable documentation of the development of construction methods and the progress of the Hong Kong’s construction industry.