Eva Cheung graduated from the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) in 2009 at The University of Auckland. She has completed the Masters of Architecture in 2011 with First Class Honours, where her thesis investigated Atelier Bow-Wow’s notion of behaviorology and the kaleidoscopic aspects of the architecture in the urbanscape of her hometown, Hong Kong.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Don’t feel guilty about taking breaks in life. It’s okay to have down times, and periods of non-production. When you are ready, you can continue to do what you enjoy doing, even if it makes you a bit different or you deviate from the mainstream because of the time it takes. Do it with confidence and complete the task. Many years later, when you look back, you can still feel a sense achievement and you will be content.
Name a project you wish you had worked on and explain why.
Woolcott Residence in Auckland by Young + Richards. This was the first company I worked for after my graduation in architecture, and I joined the company at a time of transition, from CAD to BIM. It was a steep learning curve. While I was still familiarising myself with drawing submissions and building standards, I also had to learn how to use Revit in my own way to match CAD standards and meet deadlines. Woolcott Residence was modelled up in Revit and it produced the drawings for council submissions. Unfortunately, I was unable to continue with the project until the final-build, when I made my decision to move back to Hong Kong. Woolcott Residence has been completed and I am glad to review photos that matched my impression of the Revit model.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I was brought up in New Zealand with my Chinese family. Likewise, many of my friends and colleagues, they all spoke English and one (or even two other) languages, so it felt normal for me to experience this cross-cultural exchange from a young age. Coming back to Hong Kong has made me realise that, even though I look like a Hong Kong local, I can really be different to them. One of my old colleagues even said I never look like I’ve stayed abroad! I enjoy being in Hong Kong where I can adapt to this new culture in a familiar way, but my upbringing and experiences are all unique stories.
What do you believe are the current challenges in our industry and how do we overcome them?
I believe that the greatest challenge for HK construction industry is the true acceptance of BIM. BIM would bring a great change in the conventional construction process and open new knowledge to practicing experts. It is important that we face this challenge with an open mind and the willingness to learn new things. Moving out of our comfort zone requires courage and a mentality to accept the unknown – this is more important than acquiring the knowledge in BIM itself.
What is going to be the next big thing for the digital built environment?
Many current projects are making use of the BIM model as part of facilities management. Sensors are installed onto site, and linked back to the database of the model, so that the virtual model becomes a real “live” digital twin of the building. It raises a question for existing buildings: would this be applicable and worthwhile to re-create the as-built models to collect and store information, and to record live data for building management?
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