Professor Puay-peng Ho, the project’s conservation consultant will guide us on a tour of the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex/The
University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong and its Heritage
Courtyard and Interpretation Centre.
The site was originally part of the Jubilee Battery at Mount Davis, which formed part of Hong Kong’s western coastal defence system. After World War II, it was occupied as a makeshift housing for refugees before being converted into a British Army Royal
Engineers’ mess and quarters. It became the Victoria Road Detention Centre under
the Special Branch of the Hong Kong Police Force starting in 1961 and was
simultaneously used for police training purposes. Later it was also used by the Force’s witness protection programme. The site was unoccupied since 1997 except for the occasional use as a movie set, including the film Lust, Caution.
The new academic complex for the University of Chicago was designed by
internationally renowned Revery Architecture. The symbolic Flame Tree, also known as Phoenix Tree, on the site inspired the “Treehouse of Knowledge” design concept of the late architect Bing Thom in which a ribbon-shaped building floats above the contours of the site and integrates with the Grade 3 heritage buildings, touching down only at points of least intrusion.
Professor Puay-peng Ho is currently the Head of the Department of Architecture,
School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. Previously he
was Professor of Architecture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received
his First Class Honours degree in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D in Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of