• The Hidden Gem in Hong Kong’s New Territories

    30 June 2021

    The retail industry has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Fairview Park – Hong Kong’s largest low density residential estate – has brought new life to its community, by creating what could even be described as a blueprint for the future of the city’s shopping malls. 

    It comes in the form of the first major renovation since this pioneering development first opened its doors in the late 1970s.  And the timing couldn’t be better.  What better place to shop in these strange times than in a centre designed to provide a unique open air shopping experience to the customers?

    Fairview Park is situated at the northwest end of New Territories of Hong Kong, next to the famous Ramsar Wetland. At a distance from the city’s sprawling and densely populated urban district, it is famous for its tranquil environment. (call out)…

    With a population of over 15,000 and located close to the Mai Po Wetland Reserve, the Fairview Park development is popular with families and retirees who appreciate nature and open space. It also boasts one of the largest private artificial lakes in Hong Kong, now famous for its black and white swans.

    At its core is the Fairview Park Town Centre, a 100,000 square foot GFA integrated community shopping centre, designed to serve the residents of 5,000 house units and visitors from the surrounding area. 

    “The Town Centre’s design is quite unique as an ‘open air’ shopping centre with many smaller blocks creating a ‘shopping village’ typology,” says Kelvin Cheuk, projects officer of Fairland Resources Ltd.  “But with no major renovation since the ‘80s it was becoming quite dated and stagnant.  We needed a significant upgrade to re-attract our customers and to compete with new shopping malls opening nearby,” he tells PRC.

    Rebranding with art and nature

    Aside from the aims of increasing customer footfall and spending during weekdays, the upgrade was also designed to encourage residents to spend more leisure time in the Town Centre.

    Step one involved repositioning the once uninviting shopfront entrances.

    “We made the bold move to remove the interior hallway, flipping the shopfront entrances to face the exterior.  This has significantly increased tenants’ visibility and accessibility, bringing more energy to the premises,” explains Cheuk.

    The next move was to upgrade the overall exterior of the blocks, replacing blank walls and the long parapet wall with custom-designed green, geometric patterns, designed to enhance visual interest and to promote a feeling of freshness and variety.

    “We wanted the changes to reflect the beauty of the natural and outdoor setting.  Concealing the parapet wall with bamboo planters was one way to create a natural green wall which further strengthens the green theme we wanted to achieve,” he adds.

    But perhaps one of the most significant visual changes was achieved through the hiring of two of Hong Kong’s prominent mural artists who were commissioned to create artworks reflecting the natural beauty of the area on two of the once stale and dated corner walls.

    “Each artwork has a unique style, but both reflect the natural and outdoor characteristics of Fairview Park, including the unique features of the lake.  The murals have transformed the Town Centre and have added visual interest to spaces which were previously home to a blank canvas. Footfall has increased in the area and we continue to see many people taking time out to photograph the artwork,” notes Cheuk. 

    Designing social space

    Improvement of the social spaces was a significant factor in the upgraded design.   And while creating space for gatherings was part of the original brief, the Town Centre’s original sunken plaza was hindered by multiple flag poles being placed right in the centre of the space.  Removal of the flag poles and the repaving of the entire plaza has not only resulted in an increase in the flow of people to the space, but will allow for hosting more special events.  The upgrade also addressed the lack of seating in the Town Centre, which was inconvenient for the elderly and those with children or large shopping bags.

    “The two-tone surface and use of artificial green turf has made the space much more inviting and has created much more visual interest, where people, young and old, can enjoy additional outdoor seating and children’s play areas,” comments Cheuk.

    On the tenanting front, Fairland Resources has also made the bold move of adding three new restaurant outlets to increase dining options for customers.

    For Cheuk, the goal was always to increase the synergy of the Town Centre’s retail and community spaces.  He is confident that the renovations, which were completed throughout the first half of 2020, have been a success. “We believe the renovations have made a difference in convincing customers that the Town Centre is a safe and pleasant environment to spend time with family, and we hope that the place will continue to thrive as an anchor destination for the larger community,” he concludes.

    More Features
    Future Land Wuyue Plaza: Where Suzhou’s history meets its vision of the future
    Located to the west of Shanghai, Suzhou is at once a bustling major city whilst at the same time picturesque with its quaint water canals, UNESCO-recognised gardens and traditional pavilions. It is in this meeting of the idyllic and dynamic that Future Land Wuyue Plaza, the city’s new retail destination, is located. (按此瀏覽中文版) Inspired by its centuries of heritage and [...]
    A call to action: Pushing the evolution of universal accessibility
    In today’s world there is much talk on the topic of diversity and inclusion. But what does that mean in the world of architecture and property development?  Perhaps we should look back to 1988, when American architect, product designer and educator Ronald Mace, best known for his work advocating for people with disabilities, coined the phrase ‘universal design’, which he referred [...]
    Classroom make over for the blind
    The design resulted from conversations with the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind’s principal and were necessary to supplement a programme that, prior to the opening of the new facility, he could only dream of offering. (按此瀏覽中文版) The main aim for the programme is to equip all students with fundamental skills for future livelihoods beyond the school’s gate. The school [...]
    Rail revives suburban lifestyle
    An elevated railway built through suburban Melbourne focuses on what happens at ground level to reinforce the community around it. (按此瀏覽中文版) Creating three sections of elevated rail through densely populated suburban Melbourne removed nine level crossings in a clear boost for public safety. The A$1.6-billion project also presented a generational opportunity to relink communities [...]
    Within the confines of a heritage building, a new railway terminal brings 21st century convenience and service, with a romantic nod to the past. (按此瀏覽中文版) It’s a US$1.6-billion renovation of a post office building, train station and concourse. With a strictly utilitarian purpose of moving vast numbers of people as quickly as possible, the latest addition to the Penn Street [...]
    Design quality benchmark in contemporary Vietnam
    Almost three decades ago, DCMSTUDIOS established one of the first international architectural design practices in Vietnam. In the late eighties the post war nation opened the door to foreign investment, with international design expertise coming along with the project funding. Following on from many years of chaos, abundant potential lay in the demand for new investment in commercial and [...]
    The Orientop edge comes from delivering designers’ dreams
    With more than 25 years of innovation and service excellence, the architectural glass creations from this Hong Kong company bring functionality and fantasy to design Beautiful and dreamlike, or cool and aloof, delicate looking and yet deceptively strong, glass is an important tool to convey drama in architecture. The material’s lasting appeal comes from these complex and often competing [...]
    Civic-minded design helps create compelling urban communities
    Consider what drives our world and you might logically conclude that it’s infrastructure. But keep drilling down and you’ll come to a realisation that connection and community are the real engines of humanity. Infrastructure is an enabler and, if its done right, will shape hubs that are self-sustaining miracles of ingenuity. (按此瀏覽中文版) Transit-oriented development [...]
    1000 Trees Shanghai: Inspiring the future of urban design
    Following the resounding success of the UK Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Heatherwick Studio (Heatherwick) was invited by property developer, Tian An Investments Company Ltd., to design a new development in the heart of Shanghai’s Putuo District. Located on a 58,930 sqm site on the 1,100 metre bank of the Suzhou River, it is surrounded on three sides by concrete residential [...]