Old buildings get new lease on life

Groups outline plans to return mansion, market building and court room to their former glory

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 4:14am


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Learners of Chinese and Western musical instruments will play together in a historic mansion; museum visitors will view exhibits in the chicken slaughterhouse of an old market building, and young leaders will practise public speaking in a former court room.

These are the scenes painted by the organisations that were on Wednesday chosen by the government to breathe new life into three historic sites under its revitalisation scheme to use the venues while preserving their features. The three groups' representatives yesterday outlined their plans for Haw Par Mansion, the Bridges Street Market and the Former Fanling Magistracy.

"The use of Western building materials with architectural arrangements in Chinese style is an interesting combination, making this place perfect for Chinese and Western music performance," said Henry Lo Ka-yu, a conservation consultant for the Haw Par Mansion project in Tai Hang.

The living room where Burmese-Chinese businessman Aw Boon-haw's family used to listen to music in the 1930s will be used for music practice and performance. The room may be refurnished with its original furniture.

Restoring the run-down site will be challenging, said Lo, an architectural conservation researcher at Chinese University. The tasks include checking the green roof tiles one by one to replace the broken ones, he said.

One of the project organisers, Professor Chan Wing-wah, head of HKU SPACE Centre for Creative and Performing Arts, said the school aims to give the public wider music exposure.

As for the Bridges Street Market project in Sheung Wan, the Journalism Education Foundation - which will be setting up a "News Expo" at the site - hopes to integrate it with the redevelopment project on Wing Lee Street behind it and Hollywood Road's former police married quarters.

Visitors will learn about the city's news industry and have a chance to experience being a news anchor.

The Federation of Youth Groups, which will run leadership programmes at the Former Fanling Magistracy, plans to convert one of the court rooms into a model parliament chamber.