• RIBA HK Chapter 10th Anniversary series: Bishop Hill Reservoir guided tour & architectural conservation lunch seminar

    30 September 2022

    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of RIBA HK Chapter, RIBA HK Chapter and The Oval Partnership co-organised for its members and guests a guided tour to Ex-Sham Shui Po Service Reservoir (Bishop Hill Reservoir) on 29 August, 2022.

    The century-old underground reservoir was the first locally built circular underground service reservoir to provide fresh water to residents who lived in Kowloon Tong, Sham Shui Po and Tai Hang Tung. Built in 1904, the service reservoir located at Bishop Hill in Shek Kip Mei ceased operations in 1970. Demolition of the reservoir began in December 2020, but was halted after the works revealed a well-preserved heritage site.

    In June 2021, the reservoir was accorded a Grade 1 historical building status by the Antiquities Advisory Board. The 90-minute tour covered aspects of architectural design and structure of the service reservoir, as well as the historical development of the fresh water supply system in Kowloon.

    The tour was followed by a lunch seminar at the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre sponsored by The Oval Partnership. James Pierce, Director of The Oval Partnership

    who specializes architectural conservation, has a wide spectrum of experience in adaptive re-use of heritage assets and revitalisation of old urban areas of Hong Kong. During the seminar, he shared with the participants the revitalisation of Old Wanchai, a public-private partnership initiative to enhance the shared streetscape and adjacent open spaces in and around St Francis Street, Sun Street and Moon Street. Spearheaded by Swire Properties, the revitalisation process included a public consultation exercise where residents were invited to express their views in order to help shape the project’s design development. This community input and support as part of the process was successful in establishing the shared values that exist between local residential, commercial and environmental interests and the catalyst for continuing organic growth of the existing urban fabric.

    The event provided a great opportunity to not only examine the intriguing discoveries of Bishop Hill reservoir, but also explore the multi-faceted, community participatory approach to architectural conservation.

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