Building wins mark of design excellence

THE Tsuen Wan Central Library stands out as an example of design excellence - even in terms of the amount of quality architecture in Hongkong.

That's the opinion of the director of Architectural Services, Paul Corser, who added that the people of Tsuen Wan would rightly feel proud of the town's new landmark.

The low-rise library was built in combination with a 26-storey office tower.

But it manages to maintain its own identity, despite the uniformity in design of the two buildings.

The pale pink colour scheme of the library and the office tower was chosen to stand out against the surrounding white and grey buildings in the area.

Although brighter colour schemes have been appearing in Tsuen Wan lately, the appealing design of the building will ensure it stands out from the rest.

The central library's exceptional and modern facilities are expected to attract people not only from Tsuen Wan, but from nearby districts.

An elevated pedestrian walkway wraps around part of the second level. It will link up with the Nam Fung Centre and Tsuen Kam Centre.

Later this year, a footbridge, now under construction, will link the walkway to the Mass Transit Railway station. The walkway will be open 24 hours a day.

The Architectural Services Department gave the firm, Palmer and Turner, the design specifications.

The site, a long and thin slice of land, proved something of a design headache but otherwise there were no problems.

Closed circuit television cameras monitor the book areas, and fire doors are monitored on the control panel on the third floor.

Although the main library had its soft opening last week, students were allowed access to the study room earlier so they could prepare for examinations.

The roof terrace outside the study room is popular with students.

Design of the building began in early 1989, and construction in mid-1990. The building was completed at the end of last year.

The entire project cost $363 million, with the library costing $63 million.

The main contractor was Sung Foo Kee, and Kennedy and Donkin were responsible for the mechanical and electrical design work.