Architect defends design of neo-classical library

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 July, 1997, 12:00am

Government senior architect Ho Chiu-fan defended his disputed Central Library design yesterday by explaining what he said was its hidden meaning.

Mr Ho said the design aimed to amalgamate Western culture with the wisdom of the East.

'We've used post-modernistic neo-classicism to reflect a humanistic spirit,' he said.

'A post-modernistic design can better highlight the multi-formality and complexity of Hong Kong society.' The design was accepted yesterday by an Urban Council committee, which rejected the new design proposed by Director of Urban Services Elaine Chung Lai-kwok. It also censured her for not seeking the council's approval for the new design.

Mr Ho said the arch-like structure at the front of the design represented a 'door of knowledge', while the geographical shapes on the building symbolised earth and the universe.

Though many councillors criticised the new design, few praised Mr Ho's. And in an open letter to the Provisional Urban Council, five architects, including legislator Edward Ho Sing-tin, urged councillors to accept the new design.

Award-winning architect Rocco Yim Sen-kee, responsible for the new design, said the library should reflect an 'open, cosmopolitan and forward-looking' Hong Kong.

Architect Michael Chan Sze-wah said: 'The old design looks like a third-class shopping mall in some developing city of low cultural and economic status.' Independent Ada Wong Ying-kay, one of four councillors who voted to scrap Mr Ho's design, said the issue was politicised. She said she would bring it up again at the standing committee.