Kai Tak design competition won by ‘humanistic garden’ concept

An architecture contest to find a design for the area around the Qing-era Lung Tsun stone bridge in Kai Tak has been won by a team from the University of Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 4:42pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 January, 2014, 4:42pm

A ‘humanistic garden’ has emerged the winner in a design contest for a preservation corridor around the Qing-era Lung Tsun stone bridge in Kai Tak. A team of architects and landscapers from the University of Hong Kong came out tops with their ‘Broken Bridge, Hidden Dragon’ concept – a futuristic walkway built above the Qing-dynasty ruins and surrounded by gardens and open spaces.

The garden’s name was a twist on the name of the bridge, Lung Tsun, which is based on the Chinese poem, Gathering the Dragon, Connecting the Piers.

The three-storey design, which includes an amphitheatre, artificial forest, urban garden and a canal, will also provide open spaces for street performances. The first floor will be a plaza, the second an exhibition space, and the third a pedestrian bridge.

“It’s an example of urban nature … a new bridge crossing over an old bridge.”

When completed, the 300-metre corridor will link the pedestrian subway across Prince Edward Road East to Shek Ku Lung Road Playground and the Kowloon Walled City Park.

“It’s hard to track the origins of the idea, but the overall objective was to pay respect to the ruins and also to provide space for those who live and work in the area,” team leader and HKU assistant professor of architecture Gao Yan said.

“It’s an example of urban nature – a mix of artificial and natural; a new bridge crossing over an old bridge. It’s a humanistic garden.”

Gao, together with his four team members Tsui Ho-cheung, Chang Qiang, Virginia Goh and Huang Wen-ying, will share a cash price of HK$400,000 for their winning design.

The ruins of the almost 150-year-old Qing-dynasty Lung Tsun stone bridge were discovered in 2008. After a series of debates, the government decided to preserve the ruins as a special cultural heritage asset.

But Civil Engineering and Development Department senior engineer Peter Chui Si-Kay said the project would not start until at least 2018.

“There are still road and infrastructure works going on at Kai Tak, so construction will not begin any time soon,” he said.

The winning design in the open group competition was ‘Condensation of Memory’, which was awarded a HK$80,000 cash prize