• Mon
  • Sep 15, 2014
  • Updated: 9:13am
NewsHong Kong
HONG KONG

Biggest eyesore in Hong Kong is pollution, poll finds as planners urged to consider environment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 8:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 May, 2014, 4:06pm

Hong Kong’s urban planners and politicians have been urged to sit up and take notice following spirited debate on the eyesores that blight areas of Hong Kong.

Last week scmp.com invited readers to comment and vote on the biggest blots on the city’s landscape – and hundreds of you didn’t need asking twice.

Almost 1,000 readers voted in our poll to choose the biggest eyesore – with pollution deemed to be a bigger blight than any concrete monstrosity.

The city’s architectural gems, however, did not escape the wrath of many who posted their thoughts on Facebook – nor did the Brits, deemed by one reader to be the ugliest part of Hong Kong life.

After pollution, the curved, windowless facade of the Cultural Centre which overlooks Victoria Harbour came in for the harshest criticism.

INFOGRAPHIC: On the blight side

“The problem with it is that it has probably the best city view anywhere in the world, and yet there’s hardly a window on it,” Michael Tomkins wrote on Facebook.

“The view is essentially squandered—that building could have been placed anywhere with good access to transportation, and the people using it would hardly have noticed a difference. That location should have featured a building that took advantage of its surroundings, not one that ignored them completely.”

An angry Steve Goldsworthy agreed: “Demolished beautiful old railway station and blocked the views from 1881 and peninsula with this piece of…”

An even angrier Kelvin Ng railed against not only the buildings, but the money behind them.

“The biggest and ugliest eyesores are IFC 1 & 2, ICC, KS Li’s building in Hunghom, the two joss sticks on Stubbs Road… epitomise the cronyism that is so rampant and prevalent in HK.”

Even structures that don’t yet exist came under fire. One commenter, using the name oxymoron23, blasted the ferris wheel currently under development behind Hong Kong’s Central ferry piers.

“Nothing looks worse than something out of a carnival being placed in the city centre. What a joke.”

Are you for wheel? An artist's rendering of the Hong Kong observation wheel, which was criticised by some readers. Photo: SCMP Pictures

According to our poll, which asked readers to choose the worst of 10 perceived eyesores, pollution was far and away the winner – or loser. Of 965 people who voted, 55 per cent picked poor air quality, while the cultural centre was in second place with 11 per cent of the vote, and central library bagging seven per cent.

Tony Smyth, design publisher and editor, said the bad pollution in Hong Kong was actually a product of the city’s architecture and planning.

“The city’s design and overall planning has exacerbated the pollution, the way particulates are trapped. It’s the canyon effect,” he said.

"The view is essentially squandered," one critic says of the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui, which has no windows and plastered with pink tiles.

“[The government] should take notice of the built environment and the way things are designed. They just don’t listen. We have all these public consultations but nothing ever comes from dissent. They just do what they want.”

Arts and culture critic John Batten said: “I would challenge, for example, the Architectural Services Department. When they design a park they could keep it simple, not use features like fake concrete logs.”

A spokesman for the government’s Architectural Services Department said: “Through time, we have been enhancing our internal mechanism of vetting project design, taking into account the public’s views collected from time to time.

“We will strive to further improve our work to better serve and care for our community. With continuous effort, we are glad that a number of our projects completed in recent years had received recognition in good design quality through design awards, from both the public and professional institutions.”

At third place for Hong Kong's biggest eyesore is the Central Public Library, whose pastiche design has been dubbed "hopeless". 

 

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

12

This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
I didn’t participate in the SCMP’s poll.
.
For me it serves no purpose when the target is about our buildings. They are already built. Even if Hong Kong makes more room to cramp more buildings, the players in our design environment would be the same bunch – officials and property developers.
.
Hong Kong has unfortunately irreversibly damaged itself with ugliness veiled all over Hong Kong.
.
How I miss what Hong Kong was when I was growing up even not that long ago in the first half of last century.
Carparklee
Anyone has ever noted the strange, old and ugly residential building called Causeway Centre (灣景大廈)sitting in the CBD of Wanchai? That should really be called an Eyesore.
Camel
The monstrosity called Cultural Centre looks like a big depressive tile shop. For sure, the one who designed this and wrapped it all over with pink tiles should say sorry to Hong Kong. And the the turtle egg next to it is the second ugliest thing. If I were the owner of the Peninsula Hotel, I would sue the architects and city planners for torturing my guests.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
That Ferris wheel looks retarded.
jflooking03
The sad thing is that the Cultural Center is outdated and in need of a face lift on the inside too. The backstage equipment and environment looks like something from the 70s, old and messy. I'd say...do something.
sipsip1238
Why the Ferris Wheel?
rkact@robertkist.com
What's wrong with the cultural center? It got a cool glass front, check. Its got greek columns, check. It's huge and imposing, check. It brings together modern and classical architecture concepts (somehow), check.
It's therefore in the grand tradition of mainland Chinese millennial style architecture, which can be seen all over mainland China. So what's wrong with it?
Mingbak
Are you sure you're not talking about the library?
chaz_hen
I thought the biggest eyesore was the corrupt Kwok brothers and their hairstyles?
michaelhctam@gmail.com
No, it's their faces.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or