Housing CD-ROM may affect millions

Benson Chao

CHINA'S building construction projects will benefit from the advanced architectural information technology now being generated by Hong Kong professionals, an architecture lecturer said.

At the Information Technology Fair '94 organised by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr Tsou Jin-yeu, director of the Architecture Computer Laboratory and a lecturer in the university's Department of Architecture, told Campus Post the mainland would use a new computer package put together in the territory.

'The Ministry of Construction (MOC) of China, which regulates all construction projects in the mainland, will use the Hong Kong-produced Architecture Teaching and Information System (ATIS) to learn about four prototypes of housing projects in Hong Kong and China,' Dr Tsou said.

'Even though they [China's architecture students and professionals] still cannot get into our computer network, they will be able to use CD-ROMs to read our information,' he said.

The Chinese University's Centre for Planning, Architecture and Development produced ATIS - a CD-ROM package supplemented with videos and text - in collaboration with the ministry, the Architectural Society of China and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Architectural schools, design institutes and professional offices in Hong Kong and China will have access to the ATIS project after a meeting in Beijing in April next year.

'We have to be very meticulous about disseminating the architectural information because there is a very huge responsibility behind it,' Dr Tsou said.

'Based on this information, architecture students and practitioners will eventually design or construct buildings that will affect the lives of millions of people.' The projects presented in ATIS - the Tseung Kwan O housing project, the Harmony public estate and the Hebei and Shanghai experimental housing projects - are analysed in the package from construction technology, design, energy conservation, ground-work, layout, infrastructure and other perspectives.

'The Tseung Kwan O energy-conserving housing project demonstrates the possibility of building houses which require the minimum of energy,' Dr Tsou said.

'If Hong Kong can build and maintain housing units with natural lighting and energy, think about the housing units they [China] build each year.

'That would really change the way they construct buildings in China. For a growing country like China, energy conservation is vital.' He said it was better for Asian countries to develop their own architectural information technology than to adopt that used in the West.

The lecturer stressed the most important aspect of the increasingly advanced information technology was its educational potential.

'The information we distribute with the computer network is the key. The technology is only a tool for us to achieve that,' he said.

'By imparting the latest architectural information to students and practitioners in the building professions, we hope that eventually we will create and retain a better environment to live in.'