Future-Proof Design: Balancing Creativity, Practicality, and Technology with Groundwork Architects

Growing up passionate about design and creative arts, Kelvin spent his childhood sketching and building with Legos. A pivotal high school architecture course ignited his interest by showcasing how architecture blends drawing with technical skills. Following degrees from Cornell and Harvard, Kelvin gained valuable experience in technical drawing and project management through major museum projects in Abu Dhabi, refining his skills as an architect.

Kelvin Groundwork Architect

Kelvin Kwong, Design Director at Groundwork Architects 

“Designs should not be bound to a singular aesthetic, they should be evolving and adaptable to withstand the change of time” – Kelvin Kong, design director of Groundwork Architects.

Despite expectations for a typical architectural career, Kelvin ventured into an alternative path in interior design for ten years before joining Groundwork Architects. He acknowledged huge differences between the two fields,  noting interior design’s shorter project timelines than architecture.  Combining his expertise in both disciplines, Kelvin found that his knowledge of building regulations and design principles fosters greater creativity and synergy in his projects at Groundwork Architects.

Managing Client Relationships – On Balancing Creativity and Practicality 

Architectural design thrives on the delicate balance between creativity and practicality. Each project at Groundwork Architects begins with a meticulously crafted master program, mapping out key milestones and timelines. For larger projects, a quantity surveyor ensures robust financial planning. Yet, unexpected circumstances often twist the path, highlighting the essential roles of flexibility and open communication.

“When unexpected situations occur, our conversations with clients become pivotal. Thankfully, our clients are always understanding and flexible when adjusting timelines as needed. Nevertheless, our priority has always been to meet deadlines while navigating unforeseen hurdles.” This approach underscores our dedication to adaptability and proactive client engagement in the dynamic realm of architectural projects.

Groundwork Architects’ philosophy is rooted in offering valued opinions and articulating the benefits to their clients. Actively engaging in discussions to exchange thoughts and perspectives, they strive to redefine what is aesthetically optimal for each client. “There’s no absolute right or wrong in differing perspectives,” Kelvin emphasises. “We deeply value the trust our clients place in us.” Ultimately, the shared goal is to strive for the pinnacle of achievement.

Designing with the Future in Mind

When discussing design rationale, Kelvin emphasises the intrinsic connection between future-proof concepts and technology. “We proactively adopt and experiment with new technologies to ensure our designs meet current and future needs,” he asserts confidently. 

Illustrating this approach with examples from their projects, Kelvin showcases their integration of high-tech audiovisual equipment and flexible trusses for displaying artworks and sculptures. They leverage GRC (Glass-Fiber Reinforced Concrete) to achieve distinctive aesthetics and incorporate movable LED systems that enhance spatial flexibility and dynamism. Kelvin and his team demonstrate their unwavering commitment to creating dynamic, adaptable spaces that evolve with advancing technological advancements. This commitment should excite potential clients about the innovative designs they can create.

Kelvin Groundwork Architect

Tieling Automall Complex in Liaoning: Utilised advanced technology to showcase the uniqueness of Groundwork Architects’ design projects.

Kelvin Groundwork Architect

The Veil in Shenzhen: Applied movable LED screens to attract visitors, demonstrating Groundwork Architects’ innovative approach.

Embracing a Future Beyond Hong Kong

Working with Groundwork Architects’ branch in Shenzhen has allowed Kelvin to immerse himself in a culture more receptive to bold and innovative architectural ideas. His experience highlighted a significant contrast between the design communities of the Mainland and Hong Kong.  While Hong Kong often faces constraints due to regulations and resistance to new ideas, the Mainland design scene stands out for its openness to experimentation and willingness to push boundaries, embracing innovative designs enthusiastically. 

Motivated by this openness and Groundwork Architects’ increasing engagement in community projects, Kelvin is eager to explore his potential within the industry and of course at Groundwork as well. 

“I’m prepared to take on a more client-facing, community-engaged role that extends beyond traditional office designs,” Kelvin shares. It promises his future at Groundwork Architects focused dedicated to innovative exploration and creating meaningful community impact.