We love an arty transformation and after months of anticipation, the former Central Police Station has finally unveiled its brand new identity as the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts.
Led by The Hong Kong Jockey Club in partnership with the Government of the HKSAR, this is the largest heritage revitalisation project ever undertaken in Hong Kong – and it certainly doesn’t fail to impress.
Comprising 16 historic buildings and outdoor spaces on a 13,600-square-metre site, Tai Kwun is home to three declared monuments, the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy, and Victoria Prison, which have borne witness to more than 170 years of Hong Kong history.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club spent a decade on the heritage-led plan to conserve the historic site, after drawing on advice from experts from Hong Kong and overseas, and gathering input from the local community. Building-by-building, room-by-room, it has been returned to its former glory with the closest attention to detail (full site plan below).
In addition to the three special monuments, the compound also includes two new buildings designed serve the needs of the community, JC Contemporary, a gallery building with a contemporary art space, and JC Cube, an auditorium building for performing arts, film screenings, and educational events.
The vision of the project is to celebrate Hong Kong’s cultural vibrancy, and create an accessible place where people can enjoy, value, and participate in a diverse range of cultural activities, while engaging with the lessons of the past and the possibilities for the future. So what’s in store?
What’s in Store?
Visitors will be able to learn about Tai Kwun’s judicial and law enforcement history and its many connections with the local community. The centre will also play a vital role in stimulating the arts, providing a platform for Hong Kong artists to showcase their talent and develop their creativity. Visitors will be able to develop their appreciation for the arts through exhibitions and performances, education, and outreach activities.
The compound also features two large outdoor areas – the Parade Ground and the Prison Yard – and a newly created semi-covered area under the auditorium. The site also provides multiple pedestrian access points linking various parts of Central, including a new footbridge connecting to the Mid-levels Escalator.
The Inaugural Exhibition Opens Today
100 Faces of Tai Kwun is the first exhibition to be shown at Tai Kwun, and invites visitors to listen to the stories of a hundred people who are related to the Central Police Station compound in different ways. These include ex-officers, ex-offenders, shop owners, kaifongs (‘neighbours’ in Cantonese) and scholars.
The free exhibition, which opens today, also allows visitors to take a closer look at the Central neighbourhood social networks and appreciate the heritage significance of the compound in Hong Kong. The exhibition is open from now until September 2 at Duplex Studio, Police Headquarters Block (Block 01). Click here for more information.
Keen to Check it Out?
The Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts is open to the public for free from 11am to 11pm on a daily basis. Visitors are strongly encouraged to book their free Tai Kwun Pass on the official website prior to their visits. Keep your eyes peeled on the full programme of exhibitions and events in store.
Let us know what you think of Tai Kwun in the comments section below!
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