Rendering Quality Architectural Services to improve livelihoods of the poor

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DOMAT https://www.domat.hk/

Established in 2013, DOMAT is a social enterprise in Hong Kong that provides architectural services to a wide range of clients. It aims to utilise its profession in architecture to conduct community projects, and to increase the accessibility of architectural services to impoverished communities.

The Challenges
The lack of living spaces has long been a problem worldwide. Globally speaking, the improvement in living spaces lags far behind the rapid growth of urban population, resulting in more people having to live in poor living environments like slums, and bear with the inadequate infrastructure including clean water provision and sanitation systems (United Nations, 2021). Hong Kong has also been haunted with this problem despite a vibrant economic development. According to statistics, there were about 100,900 subdivided housing units with about households living in them (Report of the Task Force for the Study on Tenancy Control of Subdivided Units. Transport and Housing Bureau, 2021.). In rural areas in Mainland China, even though there are construction projects that help build infrastructure in those communities, there may be corruption and insufficient supervision of the projects, which may lead to low-quality constructions like “tofu dregs” buildings (DOMAT, 2015).

The Solution
DOMAT strives to enable everyone to have access to good quality living environment by working with underprivileged communities in rural and urban areas in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Firstly, DOMAT discusses with the locals to learn about their needs to ensure that the architectural designs fit their needs. Secondly, it follows closely with the progresses of the projects to ensure the quality and monitor the costs of construction. DOMAT also values local cultures and sustainability, it integrates these two elements into their architectural designs by using recycled materials and local wisdom into the buildings, so that both the local cultures and the environment can be protected. Moreover, DOMAT maintains a good relationship with customers, donors, governments and local people, so that it can follow up with its work after the construction and get continuous support from them for further projects.

The Impact
Since its launch, DOMAT has initiated and participated in a wide range of projects, including architecture, interior design, public space, and residential houses. As of December 2021, it has implemented home modification work for more than 300 low-income families in Hong Kong to improve their living spaces and has recruited 84 volunteers to visit its target beneficiaries (SIE Fund, 2021).

It has also collaborated with New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association to provide modular furniture to its beneficiaries. DOMAT’s work is highly recognised. Its cause and mission earned itself funding from UnLtd HK, DBS Social Enterprise Fund, SIE Fund and Kadoorie Charitable Foundation to provide their services to improve the living environments of the poor people in Hong Kong and rural villages in China.


Transport and Housing Bureau. (2021). Report of the Task Force for the Study on Tenancy Control of Subdivided Units., 2021. https://www.thb.gov.hk/eng/contact/housing/studyOnTenancyControl_Report.pdf. Accessed 19 January 2022.

Census and Statistics Department. (2018). 2016 Population By-census – Thematic Report: Persons Living in Subdivided Units. https://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/data/16BC_SDU_report.pdf. Accessed 24 January 2021.

DOMAT. (2015, January 14). Architects and Social Workers (or other ways of doing architecture). Medium. https://medium.com/@Domat/architects-and-social-workers-eaa30e9efb46. Accessed on 24 January 2021.

DOMAT Limited. [Online]. https://www.domat.hk/index. Accessed 24 January 2021.

Home Modification: An Education Support Project for Children Living under Poverty. (2021). Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund. https://www.sie.gov.hk/en/our-work/funded-ventures/detail.page?content=1550. Accessed on 24 January 2021.

United Nations. (2021). Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019/goal-11/. Accessed 24 January 2021.