Views on Revitalisation School at Hollywood Rd (May 2008)
HKIP supports that the original site of the Central School at Hollywood Road be revitalized in accordance with the general principles as set out in the Legco Paper [No. CB(2)1105/07-08(03)], that is, to preserve the historical relics of the Site; to enhance the heritage and historical value of the Site; to revitalise the Site with characteristics and vitality; to integrate the Site with heritage resources in the area; and to address aspirations of the community for more local open space and G/IC facilities.
Having taken account of the following factors, HKIP is supportive of a minimalist approach for revitalization of the Site, that is, by retention and refurbishment of all existing buildings on the Site.
The setting of the Site: its existing low-rise built-form and openness is a scarce and valuable asset within the dense mid-levels district. In a district context, this Site together with the Central Police Compound are the important breathing spaces amongst the densely packed developments along Hollywood Road and are worthy of retention.
The difficult site topography; the need to preserve the archaeological relics underground; and the need to preserve the existing amenity of the Site amidst its densely developed neighbourhoods render the Site not suitable for any scale of redevelopment.
The traffic capacity of the near-by road network would unlikely be supportive of too much intensification.
The mature wall trees along the site boundary contribute to unique streetscape, their in-situ preservation should be accorded high priority. Past experience with the Marine Police Headquarters Site has proven that it is quite difficult to preserve such wall trees with any intensive redevelopment proposals.
The “spot (點)”, “line (線)” and “area (面)” approach to preservation is supported. Based on such principle, all three existing buildings which are bounded by the same retaining wall should be treated as a holistic entity, redevelopment of any one or two blocks would not greatly increase the development potential but would completely destroy the uniqueness of the Site as well as its important function as a breathing space in the city.
Some preliminary proposals for revitalisation may include one or more of the following themes and uses:
Creative Industry - SOHO type small office spaces / art studios, exhibition space, which would strengthen the status of Hollywood Road as a conglomeration of antique shops and arts galleries.
Commercial - youth hostels, boutique hotel, boutique retail, bars and restaurants, which would further enhance the Lan Kwai Fong / Soho / Noho district’s identity.
Community - facilities such as multi-purposes community centre, children and youth centres, social enterprises, public piazza and open spaces.
Educational – international student hostel for universities to support Government's policy pledge of developing Hong Kong as a regional and international hub for tertiary education.
Exhibition – this Site would also be suitable for medium scale exhibitions such as the recent Hong Kong - Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture held at the Central Police Compound. It may be a venue for the HK-SZ Biennale of 2009 before the site is released for the above proposed permanent uses.
In view of the site’s heritage importance, HKIP urges the Government to provide a comprehensive conservation plan for the Site so that it can be managed in a proper and transparent manner.
Public Affairs Committee
29 May 2008