On 3rd September, 1956, 27 architects gathered and formed a Society “for the general advancement of Civil Architecture and for promoting and facilitating the acquirement of the knowledge of the various Arts and Sciences.” Thus The Hong Kong Society of Architects was formed. On 7th May, 1957, the first amendments were made, to stand for over two and a half years. During this period the membership of the Society increased by 50% and recognition as an Allied Society was given by Royal Institute of British Architects. In accord with this growth further amendments were made to come into effect on 3rd November, 1959. By the end of 1962, the Society expanded to a membership seven times as large as that first body of foundation members.

The changes of name from Society to Institute was effected in 1972 after a great deal of preparatory work, and has initiated a new phase of activity in the Institute's affairs. Members will use the professional affix – Architect HKIA and describe themselves as Member of The Hong Kong Institute of Architects. Associates will describe themselves as Associate of The Hong Kong Institute of Architects in full. No abbreviation of this is permitted.

The two main purposes of the Institute are to continue to raise both the standard of architecture in Hong Kong and the standard of professional services offered by its members.

In addition to the responsibilities of architects as professionals under law, members of the Institute are governed by a Code of Professional Conduct. This Code aims to provide the standard of professional conduct and self-discipline required of the members of the Institute in the interest of the general public.

A member whose conduct is found to be in contravention of the Code or dishonouring the principle of the Code is liable to reprimand, suspension or expulsion. This ensures that the public receives from HKIA members only the highest standard of professional service.

The Institute also serves the public by applying the collective expertise of its members in advisory role to government and to the building industry. Today, HKIA is represented a numerous consultative or advisory bodies ranging from a working group which counsels the drafting of new building and planning legislation to a committee which formulates standard contracts for use in the building industry.

In the field of education, the Institute works closely with the two Universities, namely, the University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong and offers courses and counsel in professional practice and practical experience in architecture.

Every year, candidates aspiring to the professional qualification of Architect sit a professional examination held by the Institute. Successful candidates receive recognition not only from professional bodies in Hong Kong but also in UK, Australia, Canada, USA and other countries.

In recent years, the Institute takes Hong Kong to the fore in international circles through its active participation in the International Union of Architects (UIA), the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), and the Architects Regional Council of Asia (ARCASIA).

Today, The Hong Kong Institute of Architects has around 150 Fellows, more than 2500 Members and over 500 Associates and Graduate Members. The Institute is governed by a Council consisting of a President, two Vice-Presidents, an Honorary Secretary, an Honorary Treasurer, eight Ordinary Members of the Council, the Immediate Past President (ex-officio member) and the Chairmen of the Boards. The Boards, appointed by the Council, are formed to deal with specific areas in the objectives of the Institute. They are the Board of Educational Affairs, Board of External Affairs, Board of Internal Affairs, Board of Local Affairs, Board of Practices and Board of Mainland Affairs. These Boards in turn appoint Committees to deal with matters within the area of responsibility of the Boards.
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