In the previous post of “My Blog”, I have invited the colleagues from the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) to talk about the architectural features of the Che Kung Temple Sports Centre in Shatin. This time, I have invited two more colleagues from the department to introduce another building with characteristic designs, Hoi Ha Visitor Centre in Sai Kung West Country Park, which will be opened soon. The design concept of the centre originates from the layout of traditional villages and emphasises integration with nature with a view to providing a leisurely and comfortable activity space for visitors.
The Hoi Ha Visitor Centre is located within the country park surrounded by woods and beautiful scenery. The ArchSD’s Senior Project Manager, Mr HUI Lung-nin, Hilman, says that there is a country trail next to the centre leading to the nearby Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park, which has a rich array of marine life, and it only takes about 10 minutes’ walk. Besides, the centre comprises a multi-purpose room where exhibitions related to the marine park and other activities can be held. Ahead of it is a large lawn for visitors to picnic or idle away the time. Currently, the centre has not opened yet and is tentatively scheduled to be opened for public visit in late December 2020, subject to the epidemic development.
Design concept originates from traditional villages’ layout
Regarding the architectural features, the ArchSD’s Senior Architect, Mr LAU Tin-hang, Peter, says the design concept of the team originates from the layout of traditional villages that are built with “site specific” considerations. Different facilities are set according to terrains and site situations, as distinct from the previous practice where all facilities are placed in a block-shaped building. For example, the multi-purpose room, the caretakers’ office and the reception area are located on two sides of the site embracing the central lawn, while a covered corridor and a small courtyard are built behind the office. Different varieties of veranda and courtyard spaces are closely knitted together to reinterpret the atmosphere of an old traditional village with alleys traversing in between.
Integrating nature and architecture
According to Mr Peter LAU, when designing the visitor centre, architects have contemplated how to fit it into the beautiful natural surroundings for visitors to feel the environment of nature. For example, the layout of the visitor centre aims at circumventing the trees and preserving as many of them on-site as possible for visitors to have a picnic or a break in the shades. Moreover, the design strives to achieve transparency and brightness in order to bring natural views indoors. For example, the multi-purpose room is designed as a glass pavilion, inside which people can view the lawn outside. Also, after the glass door is slid open, the indoor and outdoor areas are connected to give visitors a sense of being surrounded by nature when viewing exhibitions or engaging in other activities indoors.
Using materials that emanate a rustic and natural feeling
The use of materials also strives to be in keeping with nature as far as possible. Fair-faced concrete created by formworks with wood pattern is applied to the façades of the visitor centre to give it a rustic and natural feeling. The architects have mostly used wooden slats as screens, which can help lower indoor temperatures and enhance ventilation. The wooden flooring and ceiling also brings natural coolness to visitors. In addition, a number of sustainable development facilities have been introduced in the centre, including solar panels and solar bollard lights to contribute to the centre’s electricity needs; a rain water collection and recycling system to reduce the wastage of water, a bio-treatment plant system to treat sewage produced locally; and drinking fountains for the use of the public.
Although the visitor centre is not yet open to the public, we can get a sneak peek through the descriptions of the architects and other images. I hope the epidemic will go away as soon as possible, so that the public and visitors can go on outings at their leisure and admire the natural beauty unique to Hong Kong. At the same time, people can feel how careful and thoughtful our architects have been in designing the outdoor recreational facilities for all.
18 October, 2020Back