Roger Wu, conservation architect on the Haw Par Mansion restoration project will take us on a guided visit through this newly restored 1930s building.
The Haw Par Mansion together with its private garden was built by Aw Boon Haw, who was known as “The King of Tiger Balm”. The Mansion was the Aw’s family mansion and was restricted to private use, while the Tiger Balm Garden constructed adjoining the mansion was used to be open to the public for enjoyment.
Architecturally, the Mansion was built in an eclectic style with a blend of Western and Chinese construction methods and architectural theory. The plan is, however, more Western, being roughly symmetrical with the adoption of porches, bay windows and fireplaces. Internally, there are beautiful painted glass windows from Italy, carvings and mouldings, gilded with gold and murals showing Indian and Burmese influence. Over the years there have not been many changes to the Mansion, and its authentic appearance is retained. The restoration project began in June 2016, and will formally open in spring 2019 as the Haw Par Music Foundation, a centre with the aim of providing cross-cultural exchange through music (Chinese & Western).
Roger Wu is currently the Executive Director, Project Development, of Haw Par Music Foundation Limited (HPMF), a Non-profit Organisation set up to oversee the revitalisation of the historic Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang, Hong Kong, into Haw Par Music Farm – a centre for cross-culture exchange through music, heritage and the arts.
Prior to taking up his position in HPMF in February 2014, Wu worked in a number of architectural practices in the UK and Hong Kong, including a 17 year stint between 1994 and 2010 at John McAslan + Partners in London where Wu worked on many projects of different scales (ranging from the design of the new King’s Cross Station Concourse in London to a private residence in Seborga, Italy) and different uses (ranging from British Embassy in Algiers, Algeria to Peter Jones department store in London). In particular, Wu has developed exceptional expertise leading major projects, leading international projects and working with historic buildings.
Wu has lectured at architectural schools in universities across the UK, including Bath, Nottingham, Central England, (Birmingham) and Plymouth. Wu also taught design studies at the School of Architecture, Chinese University of Hong Kong, as an Adjunct Associate Professor, and is currently an external examiner for the University of Central Lancaster/IVY BSc architectural degree. Wu is also actively involved with both the Royal Institute of British Architect (RIBA), where he is the Council Member representing the Asia and Australasian region as well as Chairman of the RIBA Hong Kong Chapter, and the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA), where he is a member of the Heritage & Conservation, Education Development & Accreditation Committees.