Raymond Fung: For Love of Art and Architecture

exhibition“Make it a success... ” that is why Raymond Fung Wing Kee agreed to serve on the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. He believes a cultural district with a stunning view of Victoria Harbour will have a positive effect on the architecture, arts development and even use of public space in Hong Kong. More so, he is confident the WKCD will lift the people’s love and appreciation for art, and ultimately make Hong Kong a role model for modern urban design.

Fung, who became a board member last October, is a man who wears many hats. Apart from serving in his public capacities as Honorary Advisor to museums under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, member of the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings and member of the Advisory Committee on the Appearance of Bridges and Associated Structures, he is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Architecture, passing on his expertise to the younger generation.

He particularly likes to share his knowledge with students who do not major in architecture because he believes the subject of architecture will undergo a quiet revolution from an esoteric profession to become a more liberal discipline. Fung believes young people will gradually learn to appreciate Hong Kong, preserve its architectural heritage and apply its principles in different areas, thereby adding a new dimension to architecture.

The architecture veteran says when he was 55, he “broke up” with the Architectural Services Department on Valentine’s Day, leaving his post of many years and turned a new page in his life. An avid enthusiast of Chinese ink painting, he describes the change as “Goodbye, architecture! Hello, paintbrush!” Originally he thought he would have more time to spend on his artistic pursuits after his retirement, but in reality he has been kept very busy by a number of other projects. However, he still insists on holding solo art exhibitions on a regular basis to stay true to himself and to his first love - Chinese ink painting.

Fung’s Chinese ink painting exhibitions will be held in Hong Kong, Beijing and Paris. A lover of mountain and water, he plans to keep painting because it’s his way of showing his emotions for this city. His character has always been about liubai, or empty spaces in the painting.

A man serving various public duties, Fung says he actually enjoys the diversity because he knows that he is making a difference in Hong Kong. For example, he has enthusiastically applied his design philosophy to his work, trying to impress upon people that 80-storey skyscrapers are not the only alternative in urban architecture for a diminutive place like Hong Kong.

“I am very stubborn when it comes to architecture, but I will not demand 100% perfection,” Fung said. “I am very happy with 70%. I only hope that the West Kowloon Cultural District will give people the opportunity to re-examine their attitude towards urban design from a different perspective. It can be more environmentally friendly, more spacious and have more cultural facilities.”

“Most importantly, WKCD can strike a fine balance between the culture focus and commercial development, and it can be a model for development and design for Hong Kong,” he added.

Fung readily admits that “Goodbye, architecture! Hello, paintbrush!” is still far from reality because his love for this city has not abated one bit, with architecture and design still occupying important places in his heart, particularly the WKCD.

“I believe that West Kowloon will trigger a sea change in Hong Kong’s cultural scene,” Fung said. “With our generation’s efforts, our society will become more mature and so will our cultural awareness. I believe that this change must come over time, and I see it as my responsibility to make it happen.”