Elaine Kwong

Design Critic in Landscape Architecture

Elaine Kwong is a Chinese-American urban designer based in Los Angeles. She is currently a faculty member at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design and University of Southern California, School of Architecture. Elaine previously served as Visiting Lecturer at South China University of Technology, School of Architecture.

As an active practitioner, researcher, and educator, Elaine is committed to investigating new models of development that enable users to be active agents of their environment. Her research on urbanism focuses on evolving a theoretical framework for observing and designing incremental growth. Elaine’s work lies at the intersection of disciplines, specifically architecture, urbanism and development.

Elaine holds a Bachelor of Architecture from USC School of Architecture and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design, where her 2017 Master’s Thesis “Village Autonomy: Elevating the Urban Vernacular of 21st Century Guangzhou” was supported by the Harvard Asia Center Research Grant and exhibited at the 2018 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture in Shenzhen. In 2017, her research proposal “[In]formal Frameworks: Tracing Socio-economic Integration in the Urban Vernacular” was a finalist for the prestigious Druker Fellowship. In 2019, Elaine was awarded the South China University of Technology Foreign Lecturer Grant to direct the research and exhibition “Incremental Urbanism: Evolving Collective Forms in Taishan, China” at the 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism. Elaine currently serves as a development consultant to local Chinese government agencies on rural revitalization projects in southern China.

During her two-year term at Toyo Ito & Associates, Elaine contributed to the rural revitalization project in Omishima Island and collaborated on high-profile commissions, including the Nanyang Business School in Singapore and Hermitage Museum in Barcelona. Between 2012-2015, Elaine worked with Clou Architects in Beijing, gaining experience managing and building multiple mixed-use developments with clients such as Vanke, CapitaLand and Wanda.