Today is the second day before the Lunar New Year (LNY). First of all, I wish you a very happy and successful year ahead! Have you noticed a series of red and pink arch towers at the entrance and along the aisles of the LNY Fair at the Victoria Park this year? In fact, they are the beautification works designed by a young local architect as invited by the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD). Fair-goers can “check in” and take photos at these spots. This time, I have invited the design team behind the scenes, including the winner of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) Young Architect Award, Mr NG Ka-kin, Gary, and a colleague of the ArchSD, to explain the features and symbolic meanings of the works.
Inspiration from Chinese-style gardens
To herald the arrival of the Year of the Pig, many people like to visit LNY Fairs as it symbolises a “fortune walk” that brings them good luck and more importantly, they can enjoy the festive atmosphere there. The series of architectural works are composed of five arch towers, with the biggest one installed at the entrance of the Victoria Park LNY Fair near Causeway Bay and the four smaller ones in the Fair venue. The towers are made of red and pink metal frames showing an Arch-shaped appearance (pictured). Mr Gary NG said his idea came from a moongate, one of the architectural elements in Chinese-style gardens. A moongate is a circular opening in a garden wall that acts not only as a pedestrian access but also as an opening through which people can peek at the view outside. The gateway forms a part of the scenery itself.
As pointed out by Mr Gary NG, the circular design of the moongate is suitable for LNY Fairs since the “circular” form represents family completeness and wholeness. Regarding the colours, the structures are predominantly built of red steel bars with a colour gradation effect, which are like peach blossoms in full bloom, adding a festive mood to the New Year celebrations. The additional lighting design for the night time, apart from its illumination purpose, gives the structures a dazzling look, making them uniquely different by day and by night.
Adopting the “rainbow bridge” construction method
Moreover, regarding the construction of the moongates, the ArchSD’s design-and-build contractor crafted the arches using a method similar to that used to build wooden arch bridges called the rainbow bridge. A special feature of the rainbow bridge is its structure made of interwoven logs which gives it a light and airy overall appearance. With only 10 days to implement the landscaping works and frequent vehicles moving in and out before the opening of the LNY Fair, adopting this simple and beautiful architectural form would make construction and demolition more efficient and convenient. It is worth mentioning that the supporting frameworks of the moongates are environmentally friendly as they can be recycled after demolition.
Participation of young architects
The Government has always wanted to give young people more opportunities to participate in community affairs and serve our society. The Senior Property Services Manager (Eastern) of ArchSD, Mr CHIANG Wing-lang, said that the Policy Address mentioned that young people should be given more opportunities to participate in public affairs so that the Government could better understand their views and suggestions and take them into account. Therefore, the ArchSD has taken this opportunity to invite young people to participate in this project to give their abilities full play. Recommended by the HKIA, Mr Gary NG is also the winner of the HKIA Young Architect Award 2016. According to Mr Gary NG, this was the first time that he participated in a community activity that involved a landmark design of this scale. In addition, he felt that it was his honour to take part in the project given the importance of the LNY festival and the large number of visitors to the LNY Fair.
Lastly, I would like to thank the management department of the LNY Fair - the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and the management department of the Victoria Park - the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, for working with the ArchSD to facilitate visitors to enjoy the fair and appreciate the well-crafted architectural design with special features at the same time. Today and tomorrow, besides shopping for festive food and goods and enjoying a reunion dinner, why don’t you make a trip to the Victoria Park or visit other LNY Fairs to join in the fun and have good luck for the year?
3 February, 2019Back