3 January 2008

CUHK Study on Air Ventilation Assessment Wins International Accolade



A CUHK research team led by Prof. Edward Ng, Department of Architecture, received an honour from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Research Awards 2007 in recognition of its outstanding research in architecture in an award presentation ceremony in London in November 2007. The team’s project “Feasibility Study for Establishment of Air Ventilation Assessment (AVA) Method in Hong Kong” emerged as runner-up for the Outstanding University Led Project category from over 100 architecture departments in universities around the world.

Remarked the RIBA jury panel, “This research is significant to cities around the world, in the context of global climate change. It is a significant contribution to the study of urban morphology and its impact on our lives. The clear summary of the qualitative urban design provides guidelines for air ventilation assessment (AVA). And the work on urban climatic mapping is extremely useful. This project represents an exemplary approach, subject to peer review, and demonstrates “internationally leading” research.”

The project was commissioned by the Planning Department of the HKSAR Government to address heightened public demand for better city ventilation after the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Completed in 2005, the recommendations of the project were adopted by the Government, resulting in a new section on air ventilation in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), and a joint Technical Circular on air ventilation assessment system issued by the then Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau (HPLB) and the then Environment, Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB) requiring all governmental projects to adhere to the assessment methodology. Governmental projects which have been assessed by the AVA system included the planning of the old Kai Tak airport and the design of Tamar new Government headquarters buildings.

With the successful completion of the “Feasibility Study for Establishment of Air Ventilation Assessment (AVA) Method in Hong Kong”, the Planning Department further commissioned the research team to embark on a new phase of the project to develop an Urban Climatic Map and wind standard for Hong Kong. Climatic mapping provides planners with a holistic view of the city so that developments could be more sensitively located and guided through translating into a functional map; while the wind standard will establish a benchmark upon which future developments could be more objectively and precisely evaluated.

Prof. Ng said he is honored to be recognized by the RIBA. “More importantly, I am pleased to see that a piece of academic research is now affecting planning policies in Hong Kong. I hope our urban environment will be improved and the general public will be benefited in the years to come.”

Apart from the RIBA Research Award, the study has received four other awards earlier, including the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) Research Award 2005, the inaugural Professional Green Building Council (PGBC) Grand Award 2006 – Research and Planning Studies category, the Best Paper Award of the International Association of Passive and Low Energy Architecture (PLEA), and the Certificate of Merit of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners (HKIP) 2006 – Research and Planning Studies category.

The prestigious annual RIBA Presidents Awards for Research aim to promote and champion high-quality research worldwide and encourage its dissemination and incorporation into the knowledge base of the profession.

From left:
Professor Jane Rendell, Chairlady of the jury panel
Dr Raymond Yau, Director, Ove Arup and Partners HK Ltd. (Advisor of the study)
Professor Edward Ng, Department of Architecture, CUHK (Leader of the study)
Mr Sunand Prasad, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Photo courtesy: Andrew Hendry Photographer (http://www.andrewhendry.com/)
From left:
Professor Jane Rendell, Chairlady of the jury panel
Dr Raymond Yau, Director, Ove Arup and Partners HK Ltd. (Advisor of the study)
Professor Edward Ng, Department of Architecture, CUHK (Leader of the study)
Mr Sunand Prasad, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
Photo courtesy: Andrew Hendry Photographer (http://www.andrewhendry.com/)

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