Shek O bus terminus gets heritage upgrade

Government advisers grant grade-two status to historical Shek O building in Hollywood film

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 4:35am

A 58-year-old bus terminus that was in a Hollywood movie scene will get a higher historical status, government heritage advisers have decided.

The terminus, which was featured in Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film Contagion starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, was built in Shek O in 1955 by the now-defunct China Motor Bus, which operated routes on Hong Kong Island. It was used as a watchman's quarters and garage.

The two-storey privately owned building was one of the few non-residential architectural examples still standing in the Southern District, the Antiquities Advisory Board noted at its meeting yesterday.

A lower grade-three status had been initially proposed, but many on the 23-member board, as well as Shek O residents, believed it merited a higher rating.

"The building was constructed in a very unique cantilevered style. The assessment panel has decided to upgrade it from grade three to grade two," board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo said as he announced the majority decision.

"The grading reflects the special merits of higher architectural and heritage value."

The terminus, which sits on government land, is known for its large cantilevered balcony, mono-pitched flat roof and art-deco lettering on the fascia.

The board concluded the building was designed in a unique Bauhaus style of architecture, which promotes clean, modern lines and functionality.

A changing room previously occupied the upper floor, with an office on the lower floor. Drivers of CMB, which once held a monopoly on Hong Kong Island bus routes, used the building as a rest area after long trips into Shek O.

The board also approved converting an 81-year-old wing at Kowloon Hospital in Kowloon City into a training centre and office for the Hospital Authority.

Block M, which once housed a maternity ward, is now a storage and function room for staff members. Built in the classical revival style, it is one of 10 graded historical buildings on the site. It was granted a grade-two status in 2009.

"From a historical point of view, Kowloon Hospital has significant value as it was the first public hospital built on the Kowloon Peninsula," Lam said.

He said the board endorsed the conversion of old buildings for new uses as long as mitigation measures were put in place to safeguard architectural, design and heritage values.