That was his experience four years ago when he was part of a team which redesigned the Lo Wu Correctional Institution. The newly designed facility is now able to house 1,400 women, compared to 182 men before.
It has two special features: advanced technology and a green design. The latter was a major focus of the redesign, Kwok, 31, says. “We designed a better ventilation system for the building, which has no air conditioning. A green roof was built to cool down the temperature,” says the certified architect.
By far, the project has been his most memorable, and toughest, because of the stringent requirements. “Security was the major concern, so we had to balance our design with practicality, which meant many rounds of negotiations and trial and error,” Kwok says.
There was one huge advantage to working on the project – the restrictions made him think outside the box, he adds.
“Making a prison pleasant to the eyes and comfortable for inmates while keeping it secure is a big challenge,” he says. “A successful design is one that achieves its purpose rather than just making something look nice. And we did it. The design is now a blueprint for the institution’s future development.
“It may not be the most beautiful design I’ve done but it’s definitely the most special. I mean, who would have the chance to design a prison?”
This Sunday, Kwok will share his experiences at the Switch On Creative Education Conference organised by CreativeKids. He attended art lessons at the school when he was six.
School founder Angelina Lo Chui Kwok-yin says: “CreativeKids is a platform for children to express themselves through visual arts.”
Participants aged 18 months to 18 years get to learn from local and overseas artists at the school in Central.
“Creativity is in everybody’s heart. A child’s scribble may mean nothing much to an adult, but it means something to the child. We have to respect that creative space and offer multiple channels for children to unleash their creativity,” Lo says.
As well as Kwok, other school alumni at the conference will include Billy Potts, a lawyer by day and designer by night; Tino Chow, founder of US design consultancy Big New Ideas; and Tammy Poon, an investment banker who also composes songs.
“It will be a feast of ideas. We want to show that creativity isn’t outside you but in you,” Lo says.
Young Post has eight free tickets to the event. E-mail [email protected] by 5pm tomorrow, with the subject line: Switch On. Successful applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail. Collect your tickets at 2pm on Sunday at the Jockey Club Amphitheatre of the Academy for Performing Arts in Wan Chai.
For more details, visit www.creativekids.com.hk