Lui Seng Chun, Chinese Medicine Centre, Kowloon Building, China
Lui Seng Chun, China : Kowloon Medicine Centre
Medicine Centre Building – design by AGC Design Ltd
18 Oct 2012
Medicine Centre, Kowloon, China
Architect: AGC Design Ltd
Lui Seng Chun Chinese Medicine Centre
A Disappearing Cultural Legacy
The architecture features a mixing of the sweeping horizontal lines of Streamline Modern (Art Deco) with robust classical elements, which are characterized by a square-shaped frame and a row of decorative balustrades in front. The deep verandahs together with the stone plaque marked with the name of the medicine shop “雷生春”installed at the top of the building are all typical architectural features of pre-war Chinese tenements.
The building became deserted in midst of the aging city centre since the Medicine shop ceased from business after WWII, along side with the rising popularity of western medicine against traditional Chinese medicine. Yet its significance imprinted in the heart of the locals.
Rejuvenating the Cultural Landscape
The Revitalisation of Lui Seng Chun as a Chinese Medicine center preserves the intangible cultural significance of the Chinese medicine heritage and continues the legacy of Lui Seng Chun bone setting and herbal medicine established 80 years ago. It also rejuvenates the aging local community as a tourist attraction as a land mark medical service and successful case of adaptive re-use.
The Old Fabric & New Additions
1. The New Glass Enclosure: The deep verandah occupies more than 50% of the typical floor plate. To fulfill the spatial requirement of the Chinese Medical and Healthcare Centre and tackle the serious traffic noise issue, the verandahs were enclosed by super clear glass with structural frame carefully designed behind the existing columns in order to minimize visual impact. Curved glass to be adopted to curve corners of the building, to avoid segmented appearance.
2. External Facade: The main external facade is preserved to high authenticity. Only necessary structural repair, re-paint & minimal restoration of decorative molding at columns has been carried with flag poles re-instated at their original location. New metal gate was added at the rear courtyard in subtle grey wash colour, in replacement of solid fence wall to improve the openness of G/F.
3. The Existing Parapet: To respect the original facade, upgrading of existing parapet to minimum 1.1m was avoided via tactful space planning and management approach in converting small balconies facing Tong Mei Road as inaccessible area for public and guarded the parapets in question in roof area with new planters.
4. Fire engineering approach is used to reduce number of new staircases from 2 to 1, as the only existing staircase is substandard from prevailing buildings regulations. The number of occupants above G/F would be carefully controlled under 83 via pre-book appointment and guided tour. Fire Services such as smoke curtain is adopted to extent time for fire escape.
5. New Staircase: New external steel staircase in light weight steel structure which is a reversible construction was added at rear courtyard which is a less obstructive location, The steel post and screen in between stair flights are compatible to the metal window grid all along the facade and interior of Lui Seng Chun, yet distinguishable from the original building. The new staircase is on independent mini pile foundation to minimize adverse settlement to the existing building.
6. Interior Design: Interior decoration is kept minimum and humble to express the authenticity of Lui Seng Chun. Original ceiling molding were all maintained and expressed as far as the building services allow. New suspended ceilings were added at verandah to enhance the acoustic performance providing space for building services while expressing the original ceiling grid and molding.
Original hexagonal colour cement tiles have been extensively preserved. Most floor tiles were salvaged during new lift shaft formation and applied in later repair. Replica cement tiles were manufactured in Fujian with traditional cold-pressed process.
7. Building Services: Building services including FS Installations, MVAC, new machine room-less lift were centralized at the original interior space so that new building services exposed to view in the verandah can be kept minimal and minimize intrusion to existing building. New accessible toilets are provided at the area where the original kitchen and toilet located to respect the original space planning.
Lui Seng Chun Chinese Medicine Centre images / information recieved from AGC Design Ltd.
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