From cop shop to art centre

World June 04, 2018 11:00

By The Nation

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Hong Kong’s former police headquarters compound has been transformed into a worldclass heritage and arts hub as part of the largest heritage revitalisation project on the island.

Featuring 16 historic buildings and outdoor spaces on a 13,600squaremetre site in the heart of the business district, Tai Kwun is home to three declared monuments, the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison. 

The local colloquial name used by police officers and the public alike to refer to the city’s Central Police Station, bear witness to more than 170 years of Hong Kong history. This collaboration between the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Hong Kong Government involved the conversation of the heritage buildings and the addition of two new buildings – the gallery and art space JC Contemporary and the JC Cube auditorium for performing arts, film screenings and educational events. 

“Tai Kwun reflects the club at its very best. It commits to the highest standards, undeterred by the complexity of the tasks it undertakes and above all motivated by the desire to act, as in everything it does, for the betterment of our society,” said Dr Simon Ip, chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The Club spent 10 years pursuing a heritageled plan of conserving the historic site. Buildingbybuilding, roombyroom, it has been returned to its former glory with the closest attention to detail. 

“After more than a decade of dedication, patience and perseverance on the part of the Club and the many experts and workers involved, the people can now rejoice at the grandeur of the gift they received,” said Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who championed the project a decade ago.