Lotus Architects Ltd Design for the revitalization of a conserved civic building in the Central Market
The concept design involves the renovation and refurbishment of the historic building to provide greenery, public rest and a leisure area amidst the hustle and bustle of the business district of Hong Kong. The Theme of Green Oasis was interpreted as ‘green'/ healthy urban hub.
Shops, leisure and recreational facilities accompany the multi-layered pedestrian network, connecting residential districts uphill through central business to the harbour front. Public greenery is on all levels. Cultural and arts facilities and food court are arranged to be directly accessed from pedestrian pavements, allowing activities to spill onto the streets, pedestrianised late night and in the weekends. There is also a water garden which is inspired by original wet market with fish in large round tubs and poultry art, allowing activities to spill onto the adjoining public street, also pedestrianised late night and in the weekends.
The original building is mostly conserved to maintain a clear civic reference of the "streamline/Bauhaus style" which typified public wet market buildings of the 1930's in Hong Kong. This makes sacrificing of the development value of the property occupied by this large low rise building in a prime location is meaningful. Where existing alterations had already destroyed the integrity of the original architecture, radically different architecture is introduced to support today's aspiration for 'green' and sustainable architecture.
Three original facades, original grand stairs, columns, beams, stalls of higher authenticity and the market streets with high architectural significance are all preserved. Aspiration for larger outdoor green area is satisfied with sky garden on new structure, looking onto urban farms and green roofs to existing structure with delicate loading capacity, nurtured by lightweight artificial soil. The original courtyard is left open for natural ventilation. To ensure economic sustainability of 'Central Oasis', a tower was proposed facing the high-rise bank building on the main street. It is designed as an exemplary 'green' urban super grade commercial complex for the best local and international professionals and companies, tenants selected to promote green industries, business and commerce.