Veronica Ching LEE - PhD. Urban Interiority

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PhD Researcher

Veronica Ching LEE

Veronica Ching LEE is a Hong Kong born interior and architectural designer and researcher. With an MSc in Architecture from the TU Delft [The Netherlands], and a BA (Hons) in Environment and Interior Design from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University [Hong Kong], her research background and interest lies in urban interiority and the negotiation of territories from an interdisciplinary approach. She graduated with a cum laude, in which her master thesis “The interior is the exterior; the exterior is the interior.” deals with the negotiation of territories between the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ in the hyperdense city of Hong Kong, seeking a theoretical approach to redefine and understand the complex relations between inhabitants and the collective urban city. Her PhD research extends the discussion of the master thesis and further challenge the conventional concepts of [a] interiority and exteriority and the [b] public-private dichotomy from a perspectivist approach. 

From 2017-2018, she worked as a Research Assistant in PolyU SD. She engaged in several research projects that investigated the housing conditions in hyperdensity and complex urban questions within the context of Hong Kong. She also participated in organising several International Studios that hosted international academics and students.



Research Gate




Urban Interiority| Interior Urbanism | Public-Private Negotiation | Boundaries and Territories | Hyperdensity 


Research Abstract 

In Hong Kong, the second densest city in the world, the city remains as a compressed spatial model that situates a diversity of individuals and their corresponding practices. This tactically results in the externalisation of the ‘private’ and the internalisation of the urban ‘public’ in one single spatial entity. Regarding the field of spatial design and planning at all scales, the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ used to be generalised as a dichotomous concept in terms of physical accessibility and ownership. A knowledge gap has been identified that requires inputs from researchers to reconfigure the conceptual boundaries of ‘interiority vs exteriority’ into various merged territorial conditions. 

This research explores how hyperdense contexts employ different threshold conditions, which unfold the dichotomous concepts of (a) Interiority and Exteriority; (b) Private and Public; (c) Urban and Interior as territorial conditions between individuals and the collective environment. Thereby, the thesis investigates how ‘space’ exists as a layered and multi-dimensional assemblage that expresses, facilitates and is itself produced by the ceaseless negotiation between the different territorial conditions and their embodied practices. Ultimately, this research aims to articulate a new perspective of approaching hyperdense contexts from an ‘interior-outward’ approach (a perspectivist approach), which explicates how the diverse technicities between habits and spatial narrations constitute the complex urban expression. 


Research Methodology

This thesis aims to conceptualise the ‘interior-exterior’ territories as a series of temporal space-time relations between habitants and the environment, which positions ‘point of views’ as the subject for an interior-urban discussion. Contextualising the discussion in the hyperdense condition of Hong Kong, this research investigates (1) how diverse habitants territorialise their unique ‘private’ and ‘public’ landscape within a ‘shared’ environment, and (2) how these relations being spatialised and expressed as an assemblage of spatial narrations that constitute the negotiable public-private landscape. Subsequently, (3) the assemblage of spatial narrations are unfolded and presented as a spectrum of spatial materials and corresponding technicities. Utilising the empirical findings, this research (4) explores a series of ‘interior-exterior’ scenarios that reconfigure alternative ‘public-private’ conditions. Hence, (5) to conclude how these conditions reterritorialise new social and spatial relations of the hyperdense landscape, and (6) to evaluate the corresponding potentials in transforming the living modalities of the habitants. 


Key Publications

Lee, C. (2020). The Interior is the Exterior; The Exterior is the Interior. The Complex Fold Between the Public and the Private (master thesis), Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. 

Lee, C., Kousoulas, S & Bruyns, G. (2021). The Public is the Private; The Private is the Public: The Complex Public-Private Negotiations in Conditions of Urban Hyperdensity Under the COVID-19 Pandemic (Conference Paper), Between The Home and The Square: Bridging the Boundaries of Public Space, AESOP Thematic Group on Public Spaces and Urban Cultures 2021, Thessaloniki, Greece. 

Lee, C & Billottet,C. (2021). Visualising the Sensory Journey into ‘Mind Maps’: an Alternative Design Experience to Spatialise Sensations.(Conference Paper), International Association of Societies of Design Research 2021, HKSAR. 



Msc in Architecture (Cum Laude), Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. 

BA (Hons) in Environment and Interior Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.



Dr. ir. Gerhard Bruyns [Chief-Supervisor, PolyU]

Dr. ir. Stavros Kousoulas [External Co-Supervisor, TU Delft]


Specialisation / Interests 

Urban-interior-architecture | Interior Urbanism | Negotiation of Territories


Date of Completion