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New centre for Heritage and the Arts opened in Hong Kong

New centre for Heritage and the Arts opened in Hong Kong
May 28, 2018

A former police headquarters compound in the business heart of Hong Kong has been transformed into a world-class heritage and arts hub in what is the largest heritage revitalisation project ever undertaken in the city.

Comprising of 16 historic buildings and outdoor spaces on a 13,600 metre² site, the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts is home to three declared monuments, the former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison.

The project has been led by the Hong Kong Jockey Club in partnership with the Hong Kong Government, with the revitalisation involving the conservation of the heritage buildings and the addition of two new buildings, JC Contemporary, a gallery building with a contemporary art space, and JC Cube, an auditorium building for performing arts, film screenings and educational events.

Drawing on the advice of experts from Hong Kong and overseas, and with input from the community, the Club spent 10 years to pursue a heritage-led plan to conserve the historic site. Building-by-building, room-by-room, it has been returned to its former glory with the closest attention to detail.

Hong Kong Jockey Club Chairman Dr Simon Ip explained "Tai Kwun reflects the club at its very best -- committed 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.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who championed the project a decade ago, added "the Central Police Station compound 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."

Opened last Friday (26th May ) with a spectacular ceremony, Tai Kwun was the local colloquial name used by police officers and the public alike to refer to the city's Central Police Station.

The complex was built in the 1850s.

Images: The Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts was opened with a spectacular light show (top) and dignitaries at the opening ceremony (below). Courtesy of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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