A Conversation With Barry Day, HOK’s Regional Leader of Planning in Hong Kong
Whether he is in HOK’s Hong Kong studio or on the race course, Barry Day is considered the ultimate teammate. As a regional leader of planning, he guides projects across the most challenging emerging markets in China, the Middle East and India.
Day joined HOK’s Toronto office in 2003 and moved to Hong Kong in 2009. In this Q+A, he discusses his inspiration and experiences as a planning and landscape architect.
1.What inspired you to pursue a career in landscape architecture?
I was originally training to be a pilot but kept feeling a pull back to art and design. I realized that I enjoyed flying more for the perspective it offered and that a career in a creative field would offer more long-term fulfillment. I discovered landscape architecture through an aptitude test and really enjoyed the combination of design, ecology and fieldwork.
Asia and the Middle East are immense, diverse regions that share an intimate but unique connection to the land. In their own ways, each provides fascinating examples of how humans shape and are shaped by their surroundings. For example, the traditional nomadic lifestyles of the Bedouin of the Middle Eastern deserts offer a striking contrast to the agrarian traditions of many Asian countries.
“Even though everything is the work of man,” Ji Cheng wrote in The Craft of Gardens in 1631, “it must appear to have been created by heaven.” This statement inspired the design of a luxurious resort in Suzhou, home of many classical Chinese gardens.
3. What type of project do you most enjoy designing?
For me, it has less to do with the type of development and more to do with the site itself. As planners, we do our best to sift through a site’s history to find the subtle cultural, ecological and environmental details that influenced the location’s past. It’s often hard to protect or enhance those elements. The projects in which all of these inputs align yield the most rewarding results for everyone.
4. Do you have any hobbies outside of work?
I’ve recently started to crew for a sailboat and occasionally take part in offshore races. While there is not an immediate or obvious connection back to landscape architecture, I find the combination of technical knowledge and an intuitive ‘feel’ for the water and wind fascinating. I’m new to these types of boats so I have a huge amount to learn, but I love the challenge and the different views of Hong Kong the sport offers.