I can’t imagine another city in Asia that
would’ve served us as well
as Hong Kong has. The US-based Savannah College of Art and Design took its first step into Asia by setting up
a campus in Hong Kong — using this historic courthouse building.
What this really represents is great, iconic facade within the district — it’s very recognisable, simple architecture, but very powerful. I’ve never been in a place that has been
so eager for things to happen to make things happen and the partnering that happens with
the government and local industry and communities — have been really amazing and has ensured
the overall success of SCAD Hong Kong. This is one of the original courts which we’ve
preserved pretty much as it was when it was built in the 1960’s.
The bones of the architecture you can tell are 60’s but being SCAD and being an art
and design university, we wanted to make sure there was an artistic bent to it.
The private university got its start in 1978 in the US state of Georgia.
The Hong Kong campus went online in September 2010…
allowing Asian students a way to earn a US degree closer to home.
Originally I wanted to go to US to pursue my study further.
Unfortunately because I’ve been living in Indonesia too long and we feel it’s too
far away. We feel like Hong Kong is the best place to
be and we feel there’s many opportunities here, and people appreciate art here. So we
think it’s a great choice to study art here. I was looking for an art school in Asia with
my counselor and then we found SCAD where I could study painting and architecture and
interior design. So I came here. To be creative, you have to be somewhere else.
And just experience something with the place — that’s what I have here that I wouldn’t
have in France. What we started doing was to look at where
are the international students coming from, coming to Savannah — and Asia was that region
where most of these students were coming from. Here in HK we currently offer 21 degree programs
at bachelor of fine arts, master of arts and masters of fine arts levels… focusing initially
on digital media, communication arts including graphic design, advertising and illustration,
digital media in the sense of illustration, motion media and digital effects.
This past fall actually, we launched seven new programs, focusing on fashion, fashion
marketing and management, interior design, Sequential art and painting.
So we really are looking at filling out that true art and design focused to local Hong
Kong students and the region. Many students here get involved with internships
with companies here in Hong Kong. Why is that so important?
SCAD’s mission is to take very seriously to prepare students for creative careers. It’s
not just for our sake. It’s really giving the skills to be great designers and artists,
but also practical infusion of knowhow into a long-term career where to serve them in
the right time. And so internship job placement is a huge part and is something we push our
students to get involve with right now, rather in school. So that makes the transition from
classrooms to studios easier. From the student standpoint, it’s not just
about a degree, it’s about how they apply the degree to profession. From the industry
standpoint, we build the pipeline of creative talents that they can tap into – then they
can continue to grow their business, grow their economy, and therefore grow Hong Kong
as the creative design hub. That’s our goal for the city.
Why was it important to SCAD to use an historic building like this one?
We are very lucky to be in the North Kowloon Magistracy building, which we awarded through
the Development Bureau and the Revitalisation Scheme that they put forward. And the building
itself really lent itself well to being converted into an educational facility.
These would be the holding cells as the court calendar was happening, and we could’ve
taken all the bars out and refreshed it — but again this is just part of the story of the
building. We kept one of the cells exactly really how
it was as it operated as magistracy. So as you sort of come through here you see graffiti
still on the walls. Here you see Chinese, but there’s actually English and Arabic
as well. And really the students actually do use this space
Yes, it’s an amazing building. We looked at several cities in China and Singapore
and here in Hong Kong… Hong Kong really allows a lot of flexibility in how to operate.
And really it truly is the gateway to Asia. The international makeup of the city, the
dynamic that’s happening right now. The emergence of design as a true focus from the
government and the public here — really made sense to us and I think really any business
can benefit from the amazing pace and intensity of the relationships and connections that
everyone in Hong Kong is really looking for�