Elspeth Lee is an architect and educator based in Hong Kong and Ireland, a founding partner of multidisciplinary design studio Superposition and a Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to relocating to Hong Kong, she practiced in some of Europe’s leading architectural design firms, including Paul Keogh Architects in Ireland and Kuehn Malvezzi Architekten in Berlin, on projects that varied from landmark museum architecture to social housing projects for the elderly.
Elspeth sees social and community-based architecture and collaborative working practices as a means of challenging some of the underlying principles which govern how people live in contemporary society, and as a more sustainable alternative to the current conditions of inequality we see globally. Architecture is a social endeavour, with responsibilities to both its community and to the environment. This relationship has informed her research and practice work over the past few years and continues to be a focus – one which she also pursues within the framework of teaching. She sees the academy as playing an active and participatory role in the building of our cities, spaces, and structures. As the definition of architecture becomes broader, she is eager to engage with students in confronting the different realities of practice – what it means to live and to make architecture today.
She is currently working with local government and community sponsored agricultural associations in the west of Ireland to develop a new model of co-housing and agricultural education – an alternative to normative one-off rural housing typologies; on the adaptive reuse of a 300-year-old vacant shop house in the centre of one of Ireland’s declining townlands; and with a young family of limited means struggling to realise the construction of a home – made possible through techniques which simplify and empower the process of self-building.