Facelift just what the doctor ordered
One of the city's oldest shophouses is set to receive its first visitors next week as a centre for traditional Chinese medicine under the auspices of Baptist University.
Lui Seng Chun, a Sham Shui Po tenement built in 1931, was revitalised in a 14-month government-funded project.
The historical building will serve as a Chinese medicine clinic and teaching facility run by the university's school of Chinese medicine.
'The building itself is a cultural and historical landmark, and traditional Chinese medicine is an important element in Chinese culture,' said Professor Bian Zhaoxiang, associate dean and director of the school's clinical division.
The tenement, renovated at a cost of HK$28 million, is a project under the Development Bureau's heritage revitalisation scheme. It was originally owned by KMB co-founder Lui Leung, who ran a bone-setting ointment shop on the ground floor and lived with his family upstairs.
His descendants donated it to the government in 2000 when it was designated as a grade one historical building.
The new centre opens for public visits next week and will begin receiving patients the week after.
Initially, four practitioners will offer acupuncture, Chinese medicine and bone-setting to an estimated 80 patients a day.
A fifth of the consultations will be reserved for welfare recipients, who will get free consultations and basic medicine. Patients over 65 will enjoy a 20 per cent discount on fees.
The four-storey building has a herbal tea shop and courtyard on the ground floor, and a reception and a pharmacy on the first floor.
The second and third floors house a seminar room, three consultation rooms and two treatment rooms with eight beds. There is a Chinese herbal garden on the roof.
The idea of setting up the tea shop was to relive the original 'shop' environment of the shophouse, said William Wong Ho-man, of the university's estates office.
'People can come by and buy a cup of herbal tea,' he said. 'We hope to create a sharing and harmonious atmosphere in the community.'
The balconies now serve as a patients' waiting area and an exhibition space telling the history of Chinese medicine and the building.
Many of the period features of the building, including the doors, windows and floor tiles, have been preserved. A staircase was added to meet fire safety requirements and a lift to provide barrier-free access.
People can register online for guided tours starting on Monday, and for consultations that start on April 26.