Sunday, November 29, 2015   

Old explosives store is bang up to date

Monday, January 16, 2012

Asia Society Hong Kong chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung recently invited media chiefs to visit the organization's new center on Justice Drive, Admiralty, ahead of its official opening next month.

Chan also acted as the tour guide of the facility, a world-class heritage conservation project combining new buildings and the historic former explosives magazine compound built by the British army in the mid-19th century.

In the colonial days, Admiralty had a heavy concentration of military facilities, and the compound was the "magazine" referred to in the street name Magazine Gap Road.

The impending construction of the explosives depot was also the reason the British military refused a colonial government request for land to straighten the road, which remains so curvy to this day.

The dark and dry environment of an ammunition processing facility makes it a perfect location to display museum exhibits.

The HK$400 million center comprises both old and new elements.

Its architectural design was selected for its low structures, such as the entrance hall and restaurant, which blend in naturally with the surrounding environment.

Instead of adopting historic design in new additional structures, the latest trend in heritage revitalization puts new modern structures side by side with old ones.

This has the advantage of preserving the original historical setting of the heritage buildings, and allowing the new structures to become classics in their own right.

The story of
how the explosives magazine compound has been transformed into the Asia Society Hong Kong Center is a long one.

Those who are interested may attend seminars at the center in February, hosted by Chan and other authorities in the field, including Professor David Lung Ping-yee, dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong.

Details of upcoming programs can be found at the center's website at http://asia Siu Sai-wo is chief editor of Sing Tao Daily

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