Posted by: Sam Olsen | December 15, 2011

One man’s legacy

Richard designed this...

One of the best things about having gone to Oxford is the extra-ordinary people who you meet there. Eccentrics and prodigies mix freely with the more mundane of us, shading our successes like an oak tree in a grass meadow. At the Hong Kong Oxbridge Christmas drinks this week we met very some interesting characters on the more accomplished track of life.

Richard Garrett may not be a name that has graced the lips of many a Hong Konger, but he has probably a greater legacy here than any other person in the SAR. For he is the man who designed most of Hong Kong’s infrastructure, from tunnels to sewers and even the shape of all the (thousands of) road sign gantries here. He is also the man who designed the Midlevels escalator, which must be one of the most welcome infrastructure projects of all time.

...and these...

His work looks set to live on for a good while yet. For Richard was also instrumental in the design of Hong Kong’s tube network, the MTR (mass transit railway). When we were in Beijing recently it was a slight surprise to see that the capital’s underground network is exactly modelled on Hong Kong’s, even down to the font used for the signage.

How many people do you know that can have that much impact on the day-to-day lives of tens of millions of people, especially someone who I’m guessing no one has heard of? A truly influential man, and a pleasure to have met.

If only he hadn’t gone to Cambridge…

...and even this


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