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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Lui Seng Chun in Kowloon, Hong Kong by AGC Design Ltd.

 
August 20th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: AGC Design Ltd

Located on a triangular site in the dense heart of Kowloon, Lui Seng Chun, a tong-lau (the local term for Hong Kong shophouse typology) was built and owned by Mr. Lui Leung. One of the founders of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited.The construction works was completed in around 1931, with design by Architect Mr. W. H. Bourne.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  • Architects: AGC Design Ltd.
  • Project: Lui Seng Chun
  • Location: Kowloon, Hong Kong

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

The ground floor of the building was occupied by a Chinese bone-setting medicine shop named “Lui Seng Chun”, while the upper floors as living quarters for the the Lui’s family. The Lui’s medicine enjoyed a good reputation locally and overseas.In 2000, the Lui’s family proposed to the Antiquities and Monuments Office to donate the building to Government. It was designated as a Grade. 1 historic building in the same year.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

The transfer of the ownership of the building to Government was accomplished in 2003.In 2009, the Baptist University of Hong Kong was selected to conserve and convert the building in the first Package of “Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme” initiated by the Commissioner of Heritage, Development Bureau.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Architectural & Heritage Merit

Lui Seng Chun is a typical “Tong-lau” (Chinese tenement). The four-storey building has its entrance at the convergence of Lai Chi Kok Road and Tong Mi Road. The 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 verandahs together with the stone plaque 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.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Conservation Principle :

Both cultural and physical issues have been considered in the conservation process. The new use of Lui Seng Chun was selected to match with its historical and social identity. The distinctively well preserved building fabric is carefully respected and maintained during the Revitalisation with minimum intervention.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

The Old Fabric & New Additions

The existing historic building was built in 1931. Necessary upgrading and improvement works have been carried out, to comply with the current Buildings Regulations and Codes for the new use while respecting the original building fabric.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. The New Glass Enclosure: The deep verandah occupies more than 50% of the typical floor plate. To fulfill the spatial requirement of the Chinese Medical and Healthcare Centre and tackle the serious traffic noise issue, the verandahs were enclosed by super clear glass with structural frame carefully designed behind the existing columns in order to minimize visual impact. Curved glass is adopted to the curve corners of the building to avoid segmented appearance.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. External Facade: The main external facade is preserved to high authenticity. Only necessary structural repair, re-paint & minimal restoration of decorative molding at columns has been carried with flag poles re-instated at their original location. New metal gate was added at the rear courtyard in subtle grey wash colour, in replacement of solid fence wall to improve the openness of G/F.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. The Existing Parapet: To respect the original facade, upgrading of existing parapet to minimum 1.1m was avoided via tactful space planning and management approach in converting small balconies facing Tong Mei Road as inaccessible area for public and guarded the parapets in question in roof area with new planters.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. Fire engineering approach is used to reduce number of new staircases from 2 to 1, as the only existing staircase is substandard from prevailing buildings regulations. The number of occupants above G/F would be carefully controlled under 83 via pre-book appointment and guided tour. Fire Services such as smoke curtain is adopted to extent tenable time for fire escape.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. New Staircase: New external steel staircase in light weight steel structure which is a reversible construction was added at rear courtyard which is a less obstructive location, The steel post and screen in between stair flights are compatible to the metal window grid all along the facade and interior of Lui Seng Chun, yet distinguishable from the original building. The new staircase is on independent mini pile foundation to minimize adverse settlement to the existing building.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. Interior Design: Interior decoration is kept minimum and humble to express the authenticity of Lui Seng Chun. Original ceiling molding were all maintained and expressed as far as the building services allow. New suspended ceilings were added at verandah to enhance the acoustic performance providing space for building services while expressing the original ceiling grid and molding.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Original hexagonal colour cement tiles have been extensively preserved. Most floor tiles were salvaged during new lift shaft formation and applied in later repair. Replica cement tiles were manufactured in Fujian with traditional cold-pressed process.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

  1. Building Services: Building services including FS Installations, MVAC, new machine room-less lift were centralized at the original interior space so that new building services exposed to view in the verandah can be kept minimal and minimize intrusion to existing building. New accessible toilets are provided at the area where the original kitchen and toilet located to respect the original space planning.
Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Conclusion:-

Lui Seng Chun not only bears witness to the history of a well-known family in Hong Kong, but also illustrates the past community life, economic activities and architecture of the territory. It was one of the representatives of Chinese medicine development in Hong Kong. Situated in Mongkok – a district with lower income group and insufficient public medical facilities, Lui Seng Chun meets the demand for affordable medical service. In recent decade, Chinese medicine has earned greater social demand and respect in Hong Kong, the Revitalisation of Lui Seng Chun as a Chinese Medicine and Healthcare center 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.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

Image Courtesy © AGC Design Ltd.

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