I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Editorial Team and Publication Committee for the in-depth investigation of re-use in our city that you can read about in the case studies and theoretical speculations that fill the articles of this issue of the HKIA Journal.
Over the last decade, a number of historic buildings have been preserved and transformed for new uses. Some of them, such as Tai Kwun, Central Market and The Mills, have been well received by the public. Others have been less successful. This issue is a timely reflection on how we can learn from the past and chart future paths to preserve and re-use our built heritage for the public’s enjoyment and to enrich our city’s culture. Old buildings, such as temples built in Qing Dynasty, the Victorian-era Murray House, traditional Hakka walled villages and post-war tong lau form an important part of our city’s history and identity. With the public’s growing awareness of the need to preserve our city’s legacy, society is more willing to invest the necessary resources to revitalise old buildings for new public uses. The numerous social media posts of Instagrammable buildings and public places are just the tip of the iceberg of this growing public interest in memorable architecture.
Architects as custodians of built heritage must work to give older buildings a second life, especially when it comes to making them vessels for public enjoyment. Their design efforts and other inputs matter. Architecture that embraces the old as well as the new can create a liveable and culturally rich city. Hong Kong is a city with diversity and history. We should work with all stakeholders to preserve and reuse our buildings, not only as the public face of Hong Kong but also, though innovative adaptive reuse and placemaking, as architecture that can be enjoyed by all walks of life.
This issue of the HKIA Journal records the efforts by our profession to preserve and re-use buildings. The article writers and symposium panelists have most generously shared their views on these topics. I hope readers are simulated by the different approaches to re-think the exciting endless possibilities of re-use for our city.
Donald Choi 蔡宏興
FHKIA, Registered Architect, APEC Architect