This exhibition, Mapping Modern Architecture in Hong Kong, is the first effort by Docomomo Hong Kong chapter members to identify and map several key buildings, neighborhoods, and sites that collectively show the influence of the Modern Movement on Hong Kong’s built environment. It will be held July 14-26 in the Central Market public gallery.

The “Modern Movement” is a term that has been historically used to define a period of architectural and urban development originating in Europe around the 1920s and subsequently spreading around the world until the early 1970s. More recently, however, architectural historical scholarship has argued that notions of the “modern” in architecture and urbanism should be seen as part of much broader and longer historical processes beginning in the late eighteenth 18th century. Over the course of the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, ideas of what it meant to be “modern” became directly related to profound shifts in how countries began to be governed, how different cultures interacted among each other, and how new economic and industrial forces began to transform societies around the world.

Over the same period of time, innovations in architectural design and production began to reflect these significant political, cultural, economic, and social changes. Different stylistic variations of modern architecture began to develop in different parts of the world at different times, including Art Deco, German Bauhaus-influenced design, and the International Style, among others. This exhibition traces the impact of modernism upon Hong Kong’s architectural and urban history by highlighting the influence of four key ideas in modern architectural design and theory: technological rationalism, mobility, health, and efficiency. Each of these ideas had an important impact on the history of modern architecture and urbanism in general. They also affected Hong Kong’s building culture in critical ways that linger today.

Mapping Modern Architecture in Hong Kong exhibition poster

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