History of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects

Professionalization to Professionalism Discourse in a Dense Colony


  • Jen Lam
  • Sammie Ng




Professionalization, Professionalism, Discourse, Institute


Despite having a key impact on professionalization and design, the role of the professional institute is often taken for granted in the architectural field. This piece centers on the overlooked history of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) to unravel the complex processes of professionalization in a specific spatio-temporal context – Hong Kong. Compared to other countries, the making of architecture in Hong Kong could be vastly different, where theoretic discourses and nationalistic ambitions have been less influential. As the representative, examination, and accreditation body of Hong Kong architects, HKIA would be a pivotal stakeholder in shaping the architectural practice. The institute’s struggle for proper recognition of architects over the years through professionalization would be marked by different and evolving strategies, both inward and outward. It is also emblematic of the struggle between different competencies which makes it challenging to define the role of the architect and consequential when it comes to the profession’s agency in shaping the built environment more broadly.