Memo From Hong Kong: New Builds
The restoration of the former Police Married Quarters (PMQ) leads a new wave of revitalization projects currently underway in Hong Kong. Built in 1951, the structure was originally intended to house married junior police officers and their families. Just last month, however, PMQ launched as a creative hub that will provide incubation services for local talents. Existing residential units in its two adjacent buildings will be rented out at a discount to over 100 designers. Current residents include Goods of Desire (G.O.D.), Kapok – Crafted in Hong Kong, American Institute of Architects Hong Kong, HKTDC Design Gallery, Tom Dixon, Smith & Norbu, and SOIL.
Despite limitations in space, a series of new large-scale developments, especially in education, have found their way into the urban fabric. Coldefy & Associés Architectes Urbanistes completed the celebrated Hong Kong Design Institute in 2010, Rocco Design Architects resurrected a 1.4-million-square-foot space for the HKSAR Government Headquarters in 2011 and, in the same year, contributed the Teaching Hotel Complex (or Hotel ICON) to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus. The campus embraced another new addition late last year when Zaha Hadid Architects finished its first permanent building in Hong Kong, The Jockey Club Innovation Tower, which currently hosts the university’s School of Design. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, meanwhile, have adopted a different approach for their design of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center completed in 2012, balancing new construction with renovated historic structures.
Retail stores and restaurants dominate the city’s interior design scene. The Stuart Weitzman flagship store, also designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, and the Mott 32 restaurant by Joyce Wang and Maximal Concepts, both attracted much attention when they were unveiled earlier this year. A new bakery called Urban, by local practice Joey Ho Design, brings authentic street culture indoors. The studio has cleverly manipulated both raw and refined visual elements into their design, using the theme of contradiction as a means of unifying what can only be described as a visual feast.