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PROJECT REPORT: HERITAGE & CONSERVATION


BUILDING PROJECTS


TAI KWUN, CENTRE FOR HERITAGE & ARTS HONG KONG


The gentle art of conservation


A historic Hong Kong police compound and prison have been restored and developed into a new centre for heritage and arts, in the largest heritage project the area has seen. Gary Sparrow from Purcell explains to Jack Wooler how the firm took a light touch approach


Kong, and looks to remain so for the foreseeable future. Containing a former police station, magistrates court and prison, the site has witnessed British colonisation, Japanese occupation and bomb damage in WWII, and emerged from it all to be preserved as a centre for culture in the historic territory. The 10-year, $HK3.8bn project omprises a variety of restored and revitalised historic facilities, including “interpretive heritage spaces,” as well as a new art gallery and auditorium, restaurants and retail, as well as open spaces for the public to access, contrasting with the densely urban surroundings.


T


Paving the way for a project of this sort, in recent times the voices of Hong Kong citizens urging the conservation of historic landmarks had begun to be heard, most famously in the 2006/2007 public demonstrations protesting against the demolition of the Star Ferry Terminal. Though it was still removed, Hong Kong appeared to undergo a change in thinking, the public indicating a strongly held collective view that heritage sites need to retain heritage standards. It was during this period that the Tai Kwun Centre was in its public consultation stage, and as such, the careful treatment of heritage has been the key theme running through the project. Conservation architects Purcell were employed to achieve this end; they in turn researched the history and significance of the compound, identifying


ADF MARCH 2019 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


he Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts is the largest heritage project ever undertaken in Hong


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