Friday, February 27, 2009

Three quick posts on Hong Kong – today the Central Police Station and the Magistracy

According to the Hong Kong press the complex up around Hollywood and Arbuthnot Road in Central is to be redeveloped – but apparently this doesn’t mean pulling anything down (though in Hong Kong you can never be sure – remember the ferry pier clock tower – that didn’t last long when the horribly mis-named government Harbourfront Enhancement Committee got going!).

The Central Police Station is an imposing building looming over Hollywood Road – the best time to see it is early morning before the hoards of traffic fill the streets and the legions of tourists and air-kissing jumped-up ex-pats pollute the street. The views from the adjacent Mid-Levels escalator are quite good (see photo left). Behind the Police Station is Victoria Gaol which is also impressive and some, interesting, though admittedly less impressive basic living quarters for employees of the Police and the Gaol.

The Magistracy is a particularly imposing good solid piece of British architecture, built in 1914, and with several Corinthian pillars. The courtyard formed by the apex of the Magistracy, the Goal and the Police Station is a largish space – indeed considerably sizeable for Central where the developers have managed to concrete over just about every other equivalent sized space.

So what will happen to the complex? Apparently public consultations are now underway. Given past practise in Hong Kong that has seen numerous old buildings, ferry piers, clock towers, schools and other places bulldozed for the developers we should be alarmed. While it seems unlikely that such magnificent structures would actually be bulldozed to make way for a) more offices or b) more Louis Vuitton stores seems unlikely let’s hope they don’t make a hash of the makeover as they did at the Western Market in Sheung Wan where, though the structure remains, nothing very interesting lurks inside to tempt the visitor.

Watch this space – we’ll keep an eye

Hong Kong Quick Posts 2 - Tai O Police Station Development
Hong Kong Quick Post III - Gaslight in Hong Kong


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