Heritage & Adaptive Reuse
The revitalization of the Blue House Cluster – Viva Blue House – provides triumphant validation for a truly inclusive approach to urban conservation. A broad alliance spanning from tenants to social workers and preservationists waged a grassroots advocacy campaign to save the last remaining working-class community in the fast gentrifying enclave of Wanchai, which was threatened by demolition and wholesale redevelopment. The three dilapidated 20th century shop house blocks were deftly restored for contemporary use and upgraded with modern facilities. This unprecedented civic effort to protect a marginalized local heritage in one of the world’s most high-pressure real estate markets is an inspiration for other embattled urban districts in the region and beyond.
Excerpted from the citation of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation 2017, Award of Excellence to this project.
“Retaining architecture, retaining people” was our starting mission.
“Repairing architecture, repairing community” becomes our achievement.
Blue House Cluster is a home full of sentiments and memories to many old people who have been living there for 2-3 generations. Succeeding against all odds in safeguarding this cluster of architecture and culture of neighborhood, the design scheme is formulated to take care of the old relics they like, and provide the new facilities they are lacking of.
The Action is Conservation + Intervention.
Conservation includes repairing the deteriorated building fabrics and reveal the authentic historical characters. Intervention includes the design of a new social gathering pocket garden at the rear facades of the buildings, a new circulation of link bridge and lift, and the upgrade of living standard by re-provision of the mini kitchen and bathroom.
Acknowledgement to the Viva Blue House Project Team:
Client: St. James’s Settlement
Design Architect: Meta4 Design Forum Ltd.
Project Architect: LWK & Partners Architects
Conservation Consultant: LWK & Partners Conservation
Geotechnical & Structural Engineer: JMK Consulting Engineers Ltd.
Building Services Engineer: Aurecon (HK) Ltd.
Planning Consultant: Kenneth To & Associates Limited
Quantity Surveyor: Frank & Vargeson (HK) Limited
Main Contractor: Wah Tat Construction Co. & Milestone Builder Engineering Limite