The former Central Police Station and Victoria Prison, located in Hong Kong Island, is a walled compound of heritage buildings established by the British after 1841 as the colony’s main police station, magistracy, and prison. Today the site is one of Hong Kong’s most important remaining historic monuments, comprising a collection of unique buildings organized around two interior courtyards. Following its decommission in 2005, the entire compound was vacated, and the project to transform the strategically located site into a culture and leisure complex was launched.
Located in the middle of the central district of Hong Kong – one of the densest cities in the world –, this small-scale complex currently goes up as an urban oasis of openness and calm within a forest of skyscrapers. The refurbishment of the buildings in the compound wishes to preserve this quality, using the courtyards as vertebrating axes of the new public program. The Parade Ground, located to the north, is an open space with generous room for organized events and direct access to retail and restaurants. The Prison Yard will be subtly transformed from a rough and forbidding area to a new open public space dedicated to cultural programming. Both spaces, which used to be closed to the city, are now connected to it through small interventions that generate pedestrian circulation in the site, thus opening it to its surroundings.
The refurbishment project of the existing buildings maintains their unique characteristics, adapting the interior spaces to the future public uses. Only two new structures go up across from one another in the Prison Yard to wrap up the perimeter and configure the open space as a setting for outdoor activities. The new buildings are elevated and free up the ground floor for large stairs of access to the courtyard, which will also serve as outdoor stands. One of them houses galleries for a museum, whereas the other contains a multipurpose hall that opens up to the courtyard and on top of it a large technical room for equipment serving the entire site. Both of these new buildings are clad with a cast aluminum facade unit system. The pieces reference in terms of scale and proportion the existing granite block elements of the characteristic bordering revetment wall surrounding the entire site, and with four types they adapt to the different structural and climatic requirements of the place.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust
Arquitectos Architects: Herzog & de Meuron
Socios Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler (socio responsable partner in charge).
Equipo de proyecto Project team: Vladimir Pajkic (socio, director de proyecto partner, project director), Edman Choy (asociado, mánager de proyecto associate, project manager), Chi-Yan Chan, Raymond Jr. Gaëtan (asociado associate); Julien Combes, Peter Dougherty, Piotr Fortuna, Carl Hägerström, Kelvin Ho, Justin Hu, Kentaro Ishida, Anna Jach, Anssi Kankkunen, Johannes Kohnle, Pawel Krzeminski, Mark Loughnan (asociado associate), Jaroslav Mach, Donald Mak, José Mayoral Moratilla, Lukas Nordström, Cristian Oprea, Leonardo Perez Alonso, Thomas Polster, Maki Portilla Kawamura, Tom Powell, Oana Stanescu, Fumiko Takahama, Zachary Martin Vourlas, Sung Goo Yang, Daniela Zimmer
Rocco Design Architects Ltd (arquitecto de ejecución executive architect); Purcell (conservación?conservation architect); Ove Arup and Partners (estructura structural engineering); J. Roger Preston Ltd (instalaciones?MEP engineering); Gammon Construction Ltd (construcción construction management)
Ove Arup and Partners (fachada, ingeniería civil, seguridad, iluminación, ingeniería contraincendios facade, civil engineering, security, lighting, fire engineering); C M Whittington & Associates Pty Ltd (metalurgía metallurgist); AECOM (paisajismo landscape); Rider Levett Bucknell Ltd (aparejadores quantity surveyor); Shen Milsom & Wilke Hong Kong Ltd (acústica, audiovisuales acoustics, audio-visual consultant); Hyder Consulting Limited (acreditación sostenibilidad sustainability credit consultant); Townland Consultants Ltd (urbanismo town planning); ERM-Hong Kong Ltd (medio ambiente environmental consultant); MVA Hong Kong Ltd (tráfico traffic consultant); HKU, Professor C.Y. Jim (identificación árboles tree survey consultant); Burson Marsteller Ltd (RR.PP. PR consultant); Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH (física building physics); David Elliot (consultor de arte art advisor); Knight Frank (operaciones comerciales retail operation consultant); dUCKS Scéno (escenografía scenography); Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts: Philip Soden (teatro theatre advisor)