Vincent Ng, Chairman of the Harbourfront Commission

Serving as Chairman of the Harbourfront Commission in Hong Kong since 2018, Vincent Ng, S.B.S., J.P., is an award-winning architect and urban designer active in public services, particularly in areas of harbourfront planning, environmental protection and urban renewal. He is also Chairman of the Task Force on Kai Tak Harbourfront Development and President of the Hong Kong Institutes of Architects in 2015. 

With 35 years of experience, his portfolio covers a diverse range of commercial and institutional architecture, including residential projects, offices, universities, churches and healthcare facilities. He is Senior Director of AGC Design Limited, an architectural and urban design practice founded in 1999, as well as the recipient of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects’ Young Architect Award in 1994 and the Ten Outstanding Designers Awards held by the Hong Kong Communication Art Centre in 2013.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong has marked its urban development over the years along the coastlines of Victoria Harbour, a natural landform harbour separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula in the north. To meet the increasing demand for land as the population grows, the Government has launched a series of reclamation projects at both sides of the harbour in the last few decades, rapidly developing these reclaimed lands into urban areas. By simply referring to the photos of the Victoria Harbour in different periods from the past to the present, one can see the evolution of Hong Kong’s urban development at just one glance, as Vincent remarked on a fair day in a tête-à-tête with Construction+.

How did you become involved with harbourfront development?
I have been involved in harbourfront development and other public services since the 2000’s, and I believe that the ultimate goal of both public and private projects is to satisfy people—the users. 

Victoria Harbour is one of the most iconic locations in Hong Kong. If you look at the photos of the harbour taken at different periods, you can see the city’s transformation clearly by the changes in the shorelines. I lived in Causeway Bay near a reclaimed area when I was small and have grown up alongside the harbour. Building a home near the water was once my dream. In 1994, I won a competition of redesigning Lei Yue Mun and the prize was a study tour to the United States of America to look into their waterfront planning and design. It was such an interesting and inspiring experience that broadened my horizons. Indeed, by coincidence, I have been associated with the sea at different stages of my life. 

In 2003, there was a lawsuit filed against the reclamation projects in Wan Chai and Central by the Society for Protection of the Harbour, a former non-profit environmental organisation aiming to protect Victoria Harbour from destruction through the Government’s excessive reclamation, which aroused great concerns in the society at that time. From the perspective of an architect, I started to rethink and review the benefits and disadvantages of land reclamation—is there a way out instead of going extremes by wholly approving and disapproving all reclamation projects? Is it possible to come up with a well-planned harbourfront design as a solution without reclaiming land endlessly or leaving the beautiful harbourfront area abandoned?

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in Construction+ Q3 2022 Issue: Urban Development.
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