Tatler's Guide To Being Conversant: Douglas So On Heritage Sites
Which are the three most important historic buildings in Hong Kong?
1. 11 Yuk Sau Street, Happy Valley
Built in the early 1930s in an art deco style, this Grade III-listed building was completely renovated in 2012 and is now occupied by F11, the first private photography museum in Hong Kong. There are regular photography exhibitions at F11 for the public to enjoy.
2. The Peninsula Hotel
Opened in 1928, it is one of most prestigious and iconic hotels in Hong Kong. Having afternoon tea at the hotel, which is a Grade I heritage building, is a one-of-a-kind experience.
3. Tai Kwun
Construction started on this complex in the 1860s and it comprises 16 historic buildings that are declared monuments. Now extended to include purpose-built performing arts venues, Tai Kwun is the largest heritage revitalisation project in Hong Kong.
A model of F11 Foto Museum, which occupies a restored 1930s building in Happy Valley
The Mills cultural centre in Tsuen Wan (Photo: Kevin Mak/1kmStudio)
What is an example of good preservation in Hong Kong?
One of my favourites is The Mills, which is a successful and award-winning example of conservation and revitalisation of formerly industrial buildings in Tsuen Wan. When these buildings are old enough, I hope they become graded in recognition of their value.
Where can people learn more about Hong Kong’s heritage?
All over Hong Kong: we have 123 declared monuments, including both built heritage and archaeological sites like historic forts that are protected by the law. In addition, there are more than 1,100 buildings or structures of various kinds, including residences, schools, temples, churches, ancestral halls and walled villages, that have been graded by the Antiquities Advisory Board. All of them display not only the very rich history and cultural heritage of Hong Kong, but also the building techniques, craftsmanship and design, conservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings. Visit and study them. You will be amazed by their beauty, stories and uniqueness.
See also: Tatler's Guide To Being Conversant
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