From yachting to urban shows

Local | Bernard Charnwut Chan 4 Sep 2019

In 1908, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club built its first club house on the shoreline of North Point. It was a perfect location for boating, and was also a popular swimming spot.

Over the years, the district became industrialized - with the construction of a kerosene refinery, a power station and a glass factory, among other facilities.

The government started reclamation, and the yachting enthusiasts' clubhouse ended up inland. The club moved to Causeway Bay, where it remains. The buildings passed to the government, which for decades used them for storage and other purposes.

In 1995, it was categorized as a Grade II listed building, and today it is the home of Oi! - an arts center named after Oil Street, which the site fronts.

The architecture is influenced by the arts and crafts movement popular in Britain at the time.

One attractive feature for local residents is the courtyard and its greenery, which form a quiet oasis in what is now a dense high-rise district.

Oi! hosts various exhibitions. At the moment you can see "Architecture of Light and Shade: Kinetic Playground" by Sarah Lee and Yutaka Yano.

Purpose-built for the site, it features a canopy that physically responds to the sunlight, wind and even sound around it.

The installation lasts until January 5.

If you visit, consider that the old clubhouse is the only surviving structure built on the original shoreline. Today, the nearest part of the harbor is 200 meters to the northwest.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee

standard@bernardchan.com

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