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Revitalisation Scheme – Revitalisation of
Lui Seng Chun as the Hong Kong Baptist University Chinese Medicine and Healthcare Centre
Mongkok, Hong Kong
Lui Seng Chun, built in 1931 as the residence of owner Lui Leung with a ground floor shop as Bone Setting clinic and herbal medicine shop, was donated by the Lui’s family to the government in 2003 and designated as a Grade 1 Historial Building. Both cultural and physical issues have been considered in the adaptive reuse process from 2010-2012 under the Revitalising Historical Buildings Through Partnership Scheme. The new use of Lui Seng Chun as Chinese Medical and Healthcare Centre, operated by the School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, was selected to match with its historical and social identity. The Centre provides Chinese medicine consultation, acupuncture treatment rooms on 1-3/F, Herb Garden on R/F and Herbal tea shop and interpretation centre on G/F, where once the Bone Setting clinic was.
The existing architecture features a mixing of the sweeping horizontal lines of Streamline Modern (Art Deco) with robust classical elements, which are characterized by a square-shaped frame and a row of decorative balustrades in front. The deep verandas together with the stone plague marked with the name of the medicine shop installed at the top of the building are all typical architectural features of pre-war Chinese tenements. The distinctively well-preserved building fabric is carefully respected and maintained during Revitalization with minimum intervention. New addition such as glass enclosure to the veranda to tackle heavy traffic noise, new stair, and accessible lift to fulfil prevailing building regulation and new building services were planned carefully and located discretely to respect the authenticity of the historical building.
Description how the project contributes with humanity:
Lui Seng Chun not only bears witness to the history of a well-known family in Hong Kong, but also illustrate past community life, economic activities, and architecture of the territory. It was one of the representatives of Chinese medicine development in Hong Kong, as Lui’s medicine were popular overseas and in SE Asia, similar to other Chinese Medicine Tycoon Aw Boon Haw. Situated at the junction of Mongkok and Sham Shui Po, a district with lower income group and insufficient public medical facilities, Lui Seng Chun as a Chinese Medicine and Healthcare centre preserves the intangible cultural significance of this heritage and continues the legacy of Lui Seng Chun bone setting and herbal medicine established 80 years ago.
Lui Seng Chun is also one of the pioneering and well received Revitalisation Partnership Schemes in early 2010s, inspiring other public and private funded Heritage Revitalisation in the decade in town. Its respects to cultural heritage that re-links historical building to community life, demonstrating that old building could be of good social, urban and commercial value if carefully conserved and adapted. It sets a sample that pulling down old buildings for new buildings is not they only way of development. Together with the synergy of other heritage sites in the greater Sham Shui Po Precinct revitalized in the same period (e.g. Mei Ho Lau, JCACC), the Revitalisation inspires a dash of new life in the nearby Sham Shui Po/ Tai Nam Street neighbourhood with many new & creative establishments brining in bottom-up Cultural, Culinary and Commercial revitalization to the neighbourhood, no one could have imagined a decade ago.
In terms of building regulations, the project adopted Fire Engineering Study via approval of Fire Safety Committee that made preserving and using the existing, but non-code complying, staircase possible and minimized disturbance to the original building fabric. It sets a benchmark for flexible administrative framework for later adaptive reuse in Hong Kong.
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