Groundwork, Architects & Associates

Hong Kong

Groundwork was founded in London in 2007 for the exploration of experimental architecture, urban design and landscape design. Groundwork Architects & Associates Ltd was founded in Central, Hong Kong in 2011, and has undertaken a range of professional, social and theoretical projects. Groundwork is a multi-disciplinary studio that also helps clients to formulate their business strategies. The studio has grown in recent years and is actualising more of its visions in Asia and around the world for high-profile private and government clients.

The studio’s work focuses on research and social discourse, and is carried out with the belief that design must be socially responsive and responsible. Groundwork’s interest in humanity/social causes developed gradually along with a research database. For the past seven years, Groundwork has been dedicating a third of its annual resources to community projects and one-ninth of its monthly revenue directly to charity. The studio works with the belief that aesthetics are integral to social development, particularly in China.

The team comprises not only architects; Groundwork also has an artist-in-residence program and works with a variety of professionals. For a two-year playground research project, for example, a child psychologist was part of the team. The studio’s focus is the application of its work to humanity. Groundwork has designed policies, civic buildings, homes for the elderly, schools and home-improvement projects.

Groundwork confesses to having a ‘strange’ management system, but one that is popular with the team. Anyone can go to work at any time. Hence, Groundwork focuses on system building (i.e. a stringent CAD and BIM system). There is no restriction on the number of holidays staff can take, but to management’s surprise, over the last seven years, the longest holiday anyone has taken was just five consecutive days.

Photography: South Ho, Fiona Bao, Tak Lee and Manfred Yuen.