Perfect 10 as history gets new look on Shanghai Street
The Standard Excerpt
Dec 9, 2019
Ten pre-war era tenement buildings built in the 1920s have been reconstructed with their facades preserved.
The grade II historic buildings at the intersection of Shanghai and Argyle Street are now regrouped as 618 Shanghai Street for commercial and cultural purposes under the Urban Renewal Authority's four-year revitalization program.
Construction was completed last month and the buildings opened to the public two weeks ago. Its facades and stone pillars were retained but the original structures were removed because they were too old and fragile.
In his blog yesterday, the authority's executive director, Wai Chi-sing, introduced the project in response to criticism that the revitalization will follow in the footsteps of Macau's Ruins of St Paul - with only their facades preserved but not the body.
"In my opinion, revitalization and conservation is not merely preserving the whole of an old building," he said.
"When we did structural examinations and tests for the buildings, we found the structures were seriously aged," he said, adding that flats were split into subdivided units and illegal structures were found.
The buildings also saw serious water leakage and corrosion, which Wai described as "having reached the end of their lives."
He said during public consultation for the project in 2008, the authority consulted conservation expert Lee Ho-yin from the University of Hong Kong, who said tenement buildings could serve practical purposes in providing space.
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