Guided Visit: Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts (former Central Police Station compound) with Brian Anderson
Tai Kwun is Hong Kong’s centre for heritage and arts. Situated at the meticulously restored Central Police Station compound, Tai Kwun is one of Hong Kong’s most significant revitalisation projects, with the three declared monuments of the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison. The site is a unique mix of heritage and contemporary architecture. With a deep respect for authenticity, 16 heritage buildings have been meticulously restored for adaptive reuse. Two new additions were added, featuring designs inspired by the site’s historic brickwork.
Central Police Station – Completed in 1919, the Police Headquarters Block is one of the most impressive heritage buildings in Tai Kwun. Forming the public face of the complex, the north-side façade is a Neo-Classical revival while the south side features Classicist design. It was originally used for a variety of purposes ranging from dormitories, offices to a gymnasium.
Central Magistracy – The Former Central Magistracy is one of the most historically significant buildings on site. Originally established in the 1840s, it underwent two reconstructions. The current structure was built between 1912 and 1914. The colonial architecture was a symbol of the importance and power of the court. The building is notable for its connection to the police and prison functions that provided an “all-in-one” service.
Brian Anderson is Managing Partner of the Hong Kong office of PURCELL having joined the Practice in 1985. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is a guest lecturer both in Hong Kong and at The Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London.
PURCELL was founded in 1947 following the aftermath of the Second World War in Europe, which left many thousands of derelict buildings in need of repair. PURCELL was one of very few architectural practices at this time engaged in what is now familiar to us as building conservation. The challenges then, as now, were: what should be kept and what techniques should be used to achieve this objective? In recent times, further questions have arisen as to how to adapt buildings to new uses in order to secure a sustainable future for them and for our historic cities.