Adaptive re-use : producing neo-Victorian space in Hong Kong

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Neo-Victorian cities : reassessing urban politics and poetics

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1881: Heritage, adaptive re-use, architecture, British colonialism, conservation, decolonization, Hong Kong, intimacy, public space


As a former British colony. Hong Kong struggles to reconcile itself to its Chinese identity. The need to manage colonial spaces that evoke 'unsafe' memories - but without demolishing examples of the territory's colonial architecture and history - has become a priority. While "adaptive re-use" projects promote conservation and preservation, an unintended and much desired side effect is decolonisation. In this essay, I claim adaptive re-use as a neo-Victorian spatial practice sought by the Hong Kong government to control and sanitise public space against the chaos and urgency of native streets in much the same way as did Hong Kong's nineteenth-century colonial administrators. This essay is a study of 1881: Heritage, the transformation of the former Marine Police Headquarters into a heritage hotel, museum and luxury shopping center. Via tourist snapshots and wedding portraits, the public's use of 1881: Heritage reclaims and transforms the space into a site of intimacy, offering a new approach to experiencing the production of Victorian space in and for the present.



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Copyright © 2015 Brill

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ISBN of the source publication: 9789004292338

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Recommended Citation

Ho, E. (2015). Adaptive re-use: Producing neo-Victorian space in Hong Kong. In M.-L. Kohlke & C. Gutleben (Eds.), Neo-Victorian cities: Reassessing urban politics and poetics (pp. 331-353). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. doi: 10.1163/9789004292338_014