Hong Kong should learn from the mistakes of the past 30 years, during which a countless number of architectural classics have been knocked down to make way for urban redevelopment, critics said yesterday. Among the buildings lost within the lifetime of most of today's city planners are the General Post Office on Des Voeux Road, Central, and the Kowloon-Canton Railway terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui. The General Post Office, built in 1911, was torn down in 1976 and replaced by World Wide House, a curtain-wall commercial building, after the post office was moved to its existing site by the harbour front in 1976. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus, which was built in 1910, also saw its fate sealed when the terminus was moved to a new building in Hunghom in 1975. The old terminus was knocked down three years later. The site has become a public square outside the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, but the terminus' clock tower was retained as a Tsim Sha Tsui landmark. Lee Ho-yin, honorary assistant professor of the Architecture Department at Hong Kong University, said it was 'such a big waste' to knock down buildings he described as classical pieces. 'Look at the craftsmanship of the General Post Office building,' he said. 'It was gorgeous. Every small detail of the building was so delicately defined. 'As for the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus, it didn't occupy much space and it really should have been retained. 'It would be a beautiful sight to have a splendid, classical building standing by the harbour front in Tsim Sha Tsui. 'The railway terminus would also have been perfect to serve as the front entrance for the Cultural Centre. 'As an architect, I feel sad whenever I come across old pictures of those buildings which are gone forever. This shows how important it is for the government to protect the remaining buildings before more treasures are turned into ashes and disappear from this city.' Architect Edward Leung Yee-wah, a member of the HKU architectural conservation programme, said: 'While our Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung was trying to remind the community of social harmony through Below the Lion Rock, a popular Canto song from the '70s, he should also keep the buildings that are filled with those memories and sentiments. 'We are not asking the government to keep all old buildings, but we should select those with good quality craftsmanship or those with a special meaning for Hong Kong.' The South China Morning Post yesterday highlighted calls from experts for a conservation policy to save hundreds of buildings that are threatened with demolition. The Antiquities and Monuments Office said: 'A policy review is under way to evaluate existing legislation and policy on heritage preservation. Upon completion, a consultation exercise will be organised to seek comments from members of the public.'