Past Event

Collins/Kaufmann Forum: Eunice Seng, 'Housing Contingency: Industrial Networks, Land Creation and Multi-Story Mansions in Hong Kong, 1950s–1970s'

April 11, 2023
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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930 Schermerhorn Hall

Constructed on reclaimed land across the coasts of Hong Kong during the lag period between two different building ordinance rationales, the mid-century composite building—multi-story and mixed-use—attributes its existence to the post-war exigencies of transitional colonial governance, contingent planning, and housing resettlement. This talk traces the global history of Hong Kong’s urban development through the I-Feng Mansions built between 1967 and 1972 on the I-Feng Enamelling Company factory site on reclaimed land in East Kowloon. The five-block composite building, with over four thousand inhabitants, is described simply as a high-density type in architectural analyses and remains overlooked in the housing, industrial, and labor histories of Hong Kong. Investigations of how I-Feng Mansions is imbricated in a Cold War ecosystem of circulations of people, goods, and ideas attend to the assemblages of capital, social relationships, labor, and architecture that coalesced along the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, and West Pacific. 

Eunice Seng, PhD, Ir-Arch, is an Associate Professor and Director of the PhD Program in Architecture at The University of Hong Kong; and the founding principal of SKEW Collaborative Shanghai-Singapore. Her research examines the transnational agency and relationships between architecture, housing, gender, labor, and public space. She is the author of Resistant City: Histories, Maps, and the Architecture of Development (WSP, 2020) and “Working Women and Architectural Work, Hong Kong 1945-1985,” Aggregate (Nov 2022). She is writing a book on the history of Hong Kong’s composite buildings examining how post-World War Two contingent events reconfigured trans-colonial industrial networks that mobilize aggregations of social capital, labor, and architecture.