TAI KWUN Hong Kong has a new cul tural hub wi th the revitalisation of the Central Police Station. A n ambitious project to revitalise the Central Police Station has come to fruition with the opening of the Tai Kwun Centre recognised in 1995 when the compound buildings were listed as Declared Monuments. The complex was in use in different forms until 2006, when it was decided its prime location should be preserved as a public space of benefit for all. The biggest restoration project in Hong Kong’s history began in 2010 when the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Hong Kong Government joined forces to return the 16 buildings that form the complex to their original state. The project’s lead designers were Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, who had previously worked on Tate Modern, and the heritage architects were Purcell, who had worked on St Paul’s Cathedral. Everybody’s TalkingAbout for Heritage and Arts , creating an exciting new precinct for Hong Kong’s art scene. Tai Kwun, which translates to “big station”, is the colloquial name used by police officers and the public alike to refer to the former police headquarters and the surrounding compound – the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison. The oldest structure dates to 1864, and its heritage significance was officially Where possible, original materials were restored and reinstated; when that wasn’t possible, replacements were fabricated that were as close to the originals as possible. Two new buildings – JC
BY MELISSA STEVENS
Contemporary and JC Cube, an art gallery and performance space respectively – were carefully designed to be sympathetic to the site. Eight years on, the HK$3.8billion project has been completed and the 27,900-square-metre site now offers visitors the chance to experience these examples of colonial architecture in all their glory, as well as a roster of innovative heritage, cultural and lifestyle offerings. Tai Kwun director Timothy Calnin says more than 30 exhibitions, shows, performances, cultural events and education offerings of heritage, contemporary art and performing arts will be presented during Tai Kwun’s Opening Season. “We aim to live up to the magnificence of Tai Kwun’s physical environment through creativity, partnerships and attractions to make sure it stays alive and vibrant, and visitors return frequently,” he adds.
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