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Travel back in time with the top revitalised historic buildings in Hong Kong

  • Written by Localiiz
Blue House

Despite its ever-changing landscape, Hong Kong is steeped in centuries of fascinating history, and nothing illustrates this better than the city’s architecture. Buildings such as Tai Kwun and PMQ are great examples, as both historical sites have been given a new lease of life and revitalised into what we now know as two of Hong Kong’s most creative and cultural hubs. In addition to this, there are many other buildings around the city that have benefitted from revitalisation. From a colourful cluster of houses to a haunting mansion-turned-music-school, we take a look at some of Hong Kong’s most historically significant buildings.

Blue House Cluster

Blue House Cluster

Perched along Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai, the award-winning Blue House Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info Cluster is made up of three colourful, interlocking houses — Yellow House, Orange House, and of course, Blue House. The site where the cluster now sits was originally a hospital that provided Chinese medical services to local residents, before turning into a temple for the God of Medicine, Wah To. The four-storey Lingnan-style house was painted blue in the 1990s with leftover paint from the Water Supplies Department — thus, the Blue House was born.

Together, the vibrant cluster now houses artists-in-residence, a cafe and a bistro where visitors can get a taste of healthy, local cuisine. The cluster is also home to Hong Kong House of Stories , a communal space that hosts activities, such as movie screenings, art exhibitions, live music concerts, and cultural workshops where visitors get crafty making everything from beautiful paper lanterns to concocting their very own bottle of wine!

Jao Tsung-I Academy

Jao Tsung-I Academy

Nestled in the quiet hillside of Lai Chi Kok, the Jao Tsung-I Academy Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info was established in 2012 in honour of Professor Jao Tsung-I, a prolific Chinese scholar renowned for his work in Sinology. Throughout its history, the complex has served many purposes: a customs station during the Qing dynasty in the late 19th century, a dwelling built by the British for Chinese labourers, a quarantine station, a prison, an infectious disease hospital and even a psychiatric ward.

You can also see Professor Jao Tsung-I's calligraphy work on Lantau Island’s Wisdom Path.

With such a colourful past, free public tours offer the chance to learn more about the site’s cultural heritage from a guide, or you can do the exploring yourself with a spot of gallery hopping to find out more about Professor Jao Tsung-I’s works. Travellers can also sign up for workshops, often with the opportunity to create items that make great souvenirs. Past workshops have included making traditional Chinese sweet treats, decorative Chinese paper cuttings and canvas in ink drawing classes.

Lui Seng Chun

Lui Seng Chun

Sitting on the outskirts of bustling Mong Kok is Lui Seng Chun , a four-storey tenement building. Standing out amongst its surrounding architecture, this pre-war building’s curved facade speaks greatly of the historical era that Lui Seng Chun was constructed in. While you’re busy marvelling at the building’s classic European designs that still remain, don’t forget to go ahead and order some traditional herbal tea from the ground floor shop and relax in the small garden before heading to the exhibition space showcasing Lui Seng Chun’s historical significance.

Haw Par Music Farm

Haw Par Music

Listed as a Grade 1 heritage building for its longstanding history, the Haw Par Mansion was revitalised and converted into Haw Par Music Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info , a school where both Chinese and Western music is taught. Off the beaten track, this historical site sits on the edge of Tai Hang, but its vibrant and eccentric architecture is unmissable. As you walk through the moon gate entrance, you are welcomed with warm lighting, elegantly-aged furniture, and storyboards around the room that tell the story of Haw Par Mansion and how it came to be. If you would like to visit the rest of the building, you can do so by booking a free guided tour in advance.

HKFYG Leadership Institute

HKFYG Leadership Institute

As the first district court set up in the northern New Territories, the Fanling Magistracy was revitalised into The HKFYG Leadership Institute Get me there {{title}} Address {{address}} Website {{website}} More info in 2019, with many parts of the building’s architectural details still intact both inside and out. Despite the building now being a school, visitors can still join guided tours, where they will be introduced to different conserved spaces within the building, learn about the institute, and experience a world where colonial architecture blends with modern technology.

The Pawn

The Pawn

Home to some of Hong Kong’s most popular bars and restaurants, The Pawn is an iconic four-storey tenement that once housed Woo Cheong Pawn Shop in 1966. Inside this beautifully renovated pre-war building, visitors can marvel at the seamless blend of both Chinese and Western architectural features while sipping on an aperitif at La Piola, an Italian pizza bar, or indulging in classic British comfort food at The Pawn.

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