2018 Travel Scholarship: Recap

Project Designer, Aaron Blaha was awarded the 2018 travel scholarship and traveled to Hong Kong in November.


My travels to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Macau was an unforgettable trip and invaluable learning experience in the field of architecture. Over the course of nine days, I explored each city’s various neighborhoods, city centers, landmark buildings, and natural landscapes to seek inspiration in design and make connections to architecture out there and its potential application back home. I chose the Hong Kong area as my choice destination due to its striking population density and the hundreds of high rises that sprout from the mountainside like stalks of wheat in their best attempts to house the city’s 7 million people. Such a city also has wonderful architectural works like the HSBC Building by Norman Foster and the Hong Kong Design Institute by CAAU.

The majority of my trip was spent in Hong Kong itself. Those days were spent travelling around Hong Kong Island as well as the various neighborhoods and towns of the Kowloon peninsula. This was followed by a brief day trip across the Pearl River Delta to Macau to explore its historic architecture as well as their lavish contemporary buildings such as the Hotel Morpheus by Zaha Hadid. After one more day in Hong Kong I then took my passport and travel visa and visited Shenzhen just across the border in the People’s Republic of China. I spent 48 hours absorbing a very different city than the ones I previously toured with a very different scale of design and development. There, wide streets and long blocks give way to mega-high rises and endless rows of residential housing. After my relatively brief stay, I returned to Hong Kong for one last day of exploration and in some ways, relaxation. Despite Hong Kong’s infamous density, it is still easy to find peace in such a vibrant and iconic city.