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BUILDING & ENGINEERING | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

Government invites revitalisation proposals for four historic buildings

The Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau is inviting proposals from non-profit-making organisations to revitalise four historic buildings under the Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme.


The buildings are King Yin Lei, Haw Par Mansion, Bridges Street Market and the Former Fanling Magistracy.

"We have launched three batches of buildings under the scheme. The nine projects selected under Batch I and II are at different stages of development. The Hong Kong Campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design,  operated from the former North Kowloon Magistracy, is the first project completed a year ago. We are much encouraged that SCAD HK has received the Honourable Mention in the 2011 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards," said Secretary for Development Ms. Carrie Lam.

 "Looking ahead, we expect one project to be completed before the end of 2011, four projects in 2012, two in 2013 and another one in 2014," she said.

Introducing the Batch III buildings, Mrs Lam highlighted that the revitalisation of King Yin Lei, the first privately owned historic building preserved under the provision of economic incentives and declared a monument in July 2008, had a number of special characteristics. First, a minimum intervention approach is being adopted to preserve the main building primarily for public appreciation of its architectural features and the restoration efforts.

Secondly, new structures that are visually compatible with the existing buildings and the setting of King Yin Lei will be allowed at the swimming pool area to provide additional usable area in support of the proposed adaptive re-use by the social enterprise at this site.

Thirdly, Professor Tang Guohua of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Guangzhou University, who has masterminded the successful restoration of King Yin Lei, has been appointed as a special advisor to the Advisory Committee on Revitalisation of Historic Buildings (ACRHB) to provide expert advice on the conservation aspects of the revitalisation proposals received for King Yin Lei.

Lastly, members of the public will have an opportunity to express their views toward the revitalisation proposals shortlisted by the ACRHB through an exhibition organised by the Development Bureau.
Mrs Lam said that public access and enjoyment are key considerations in the Revitalisation Scheme. "Selected operators should allow the public to visit the historic buildings free of charge. Part of a building could also be converted into a museum or exhibition gallery to reflect the building's historical value," she said.

A series of open days with guided tours will be arranged on November 8 to 11 for prospective applicants to visit the four historic buildings. A workshop will also be organised on November 18 for interested non-profit-making organisations to learn more about the application procedures and requirements.

The deadline for submission of applications is noon on February 6, 2012.

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