Design Trust celebrates Dr. Ho as a pioneer of socially-driven architecture and design. As part of Design Trust’s mission to advocate for the positive value of the processes of design, we are pleased to name the late Dr. Tao Ho as our inaugural honouree of the Design Trust Legacy Award at this year’s Design Trust Gala event. This is in recognition of Dr. Ho’s significant contributions in Hong Kong, Asia and internationally where he worked as a planner, architect, designer and artist transcending between disciplines.
The Design Trust Legacy Award 2019 trophy is designed by our grantees the duo of Paul Tse and Evelyn Ting of New Office Works, a Hong Kong based architectural practice, and produced by world renowned Czech glass and lighting brand LASVIT. Inspired by the emblem of Hong Kong which was designed by Tao Ho, the young architects have transformed the five flower petals into one continuous free curve to capture the ever-changing nature of this dynamic city. The entire trophy is designed to simultaneously reflect and distort its surroundings.
This year’s award was presented by Design Trust Trustee Dr. Victor Lo, GBM, GBS, JP. The award was accepted by the late Tao Ho’s daughter Ms. Noelle Ho-Lam.
About the late Dr. Tao Ho
Born in Shanghai in 1936 to Ping Yin Ho and Chin Hwa, Tao grew up with elder brother Chien and younger sister Diana. The family moved to Hong Kong in 1937. A brilliant student, Tao graduated from Pui Ching Middle School and went on to receive a BA in Art History with a minor in Music and Theology at Williams College in Massachusetts. Then, he studied for his MArch at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design under the tutelage of Josep Lluís Sert, Sigfried Giedion, and Walter Gropius, the latter of whom hired Tao upon graduation as his personal assistant at The Architects Collaborative.
In 1968, four years after Tao returned to Hong Kong, he founded Tao Ho Design Architects. Early projects include the Hong Kong International School and the Hong Kong Arts Centre, whose designs heralded the arrival of the Bauhaus to Hong Kong. Within his broad portfolio of works are the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 1986 World Expo in Vancouver, the renovation of Hong Kong’s Governor House for Lord Chris Patten, the award-winning Wing Kwong Pentecostal Church, the
first panda pavilion at Ocean Park and the revitalization of the Western Market in Sheung Wan. Tao also designed Hong Kong SAR’s Bauhinia emblem, its flag and the ceremonial pen used at the handover signing ceremony in 1997.
A leader in heritage conservation and cultural development, Tao conceived of an arts district for the city that is now the West Kowloon Cultural District. He enjoyed sharing his views on ‘TaoHo on Music’ for RTHK in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, he was one of the four regular hosts of ‘Free As The Wind’, discussing his views on cultural and social issues. Tao’s talent is in his buildings, designs, sculptures, paintings and recorded voice will attest.
Tao Ho conceived his life’s work: ‘[It is] an ongoing revelation of the potential of an artistic spirit responding to a social and environmental consciousness. It is this consciousness, coupled with a devoted interest in Eastern philosophy and a love for beauty in nature, that drives [me] to establish a humanistic approach to architecture and promote the preservation of our natural environment and the enrichment of cultural heritage.’ Living life as an adventure, he ‘climbed high and climbed far,’ realising the hope emblazoned on the Memorial Gates at his alma mater. Dr. Tao Ho passed away peacefully on 29 March 2019 in Hong Kong, aged 82.