Michael Wright (architect)

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Michael Wright
Hong Kong Commissioner in London
In office
Preceded byPatrick Cardinall Mason Sedgwick
Succeeded bySamuel Tedford Kidd
Director of Public Works
In office
Preceded byAllan Inglis
Succeeded byJames Jeavons Robson
President of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects
In office
Preceded bySu Gin Djih
Succeeded byHarold Graham Fector Robinson
Personal details
Born(1912-09-19)19 September 1912
Hong Kong
Died26 January 2018(2018-01-26) (aged 105)
 United Kingdom London
Spouse(s)Ethel Surtees
RelationsSir Denis Wright (brother, 1911-2005)
ParentsArthur Edgar Wright (1880-1949)
Margery Hepworth Chapman (1888-1973)
Alma materBrentwood School

Alec Michael John Wright, CMG (Chinese: 鄔勵德; 19 September 1912 – 26 January 2018) was a chartered surveyor and Director of Public Works of Hong Kong. He was a longtime colonial civil servant and chief architect of the Public Works Department. He was also an official member of the Legislative Council and Urban Council. He was responsible for many infrastructure and housing projects and advocated for private bathroom and kitchen in every unit of the housing estate which is known as the "Wright Principle". He was the founding member and president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects.


Wright was born in Hong Kong on 19 September 1912 into a civil servant family. He was educated at the Brentwood School in the United Kingdom and became an architect. He joined the Hong Kong government in 1938 and began to work at the former Public Works Department. He was interned during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.[1]

After the war, Wright became the chief architect of the Public Works Department and played an instrumental role in the massive effort to house the millions of refugees fleeing to Hong Kong from China. The first generation of public housing estates, built in haste, resembled army barracks, and had shared bathrooms. In 1952 he designed the first public rental housing estate with private bathrooms and kitchens, at Sheung Li Uk, for the Hong Kong Housing Society, in which his design became known as the "Wright Principle".[2] He was also founding member and president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects in 1958.

In 1963, he became Director of Public Works in which he served until 1969. In this capacity, Wright was also an official member of the Legislative Council and Urban Council.[1]

In 1969, he was appointed Hong Kong Commissioner in London. He retired from the civil service in 1973. Hong Kong Housing Society's Lai Tak Tsuen in Tai Hang, built in 1975 and 1976, was named after Wright's Chinese name.

He resided in Knightsbridge, London after his retirement. He commented on Hong Kong affairs occasionally, including the proposed demolition of the Government Hill in 2012.[3] Wright died in January 2018 at the age of 105.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "104歲勵德邨之父港人自居 創本港公屋楷模". 蘋果日報. 2016-12-15.
  2. ^ "上李屋 Sheung Li Uk". Hong Kong Housing Society.
  3. ^ "政府山之父﹕拆西座不合邏輯". 明報. 2012-01-09.
  4. ^ Cheng, Kris (30 January 2018). "Ex-official Michael Wright, who reformed public housing in Hong Kong, dies at 105". Hong Kong Free Press.
  5. ^ Wong, Ching-mei (30 January 2018). "「公屋之父」鄔勵德上周五倫敦逝世 任內促成公屋設獨立廚廁". HK01.
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Su Gin Djih
President of Hong Kong Institute of Architects
Succeeded by
Harold Graham Fector Robinson
Government offices
Preceded by
Allan Inglis
Director of Public Works
Succeeded by
James Jeavons Robson
Preceded by
Patrick Cardinall Mason Sedgwick
Hong Kong Commissioner in London
Succeeded by
Samuel Tedford Kidd