King Yin Lei declared a monument (with photos)
King Yin Lei at No. 45 Stubbs Road, Hong Kong, was formally declared a monument today (July 11) by the Secretary for Development, in her capacity as the Antiquities Authority, under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53).
The declaration, which was published in today's Gazette, covers the entire site including the main building, the gardens and the pavilion.
A spokesman for the Development Bureau said that the declaration was an important milestone in the conservation of King Yin Lei.
"The statutory process to declare King Yin Lei has the full co-operation of the owner, who under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance is entitled to object by petitioning the Chief Executive but has chosen not to do so in light of good progress made in a land exchange proposal to preserve the building," the spokesman added.
"The land exchange proposal applied to King Yin Lei is made possible by a new heritage conservation policy announced by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address last October. Under this policy, the Government acknowledges the need to provide suitable economic incentives to encourage private owners to preserve historic buildings in their ownership. In implementing this policy, it is paramount for the Government to achieve a proper balance between protection of historic buildings and respect for private property rights," the spokesman said.
The Government has reached an understanding with the owner on a preservation option, under which the owner will surrender the whole site of King Yin Lei to the Government, while the Government will grant an adjacent man-made slope site of roughly the same size to the owner for new residential development.
"The proposed development will not adversely affect the density, traffic load, landscape and greenery of the area. The proposal was accepted by the Town Planning Board on April 18, and is currently undergoing the relevant statutory process under the Town Planning Ordinance. Upon completion of the process, we will seek approval of the Chief Executive in Council for the proposed non-in-situ land exchange.
"Once the land exchange proposal is approved, we will consult the public and devise proposals for its revitalisation. Our guiding principle is to put King Yin Lei to adaptive re-use and turn it into an attraction for local residents as well as tourists," the spokesman said.
The Development Bureau has also been actively liaising with the owner on the restoration works of King Yin Lei. The owner had agreed to carry out the restoration works on the building under the supervision of the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) at his own cost.
The AMO commissioned Professor Tang Guohua of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of Guangzhou University to assess King Yin Lei's heritage value and to advise on the restoration works.
The restoration works will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will cover restoration of the roof tiles while the second phase will focus on the restoration of external walls and internal decoration. It is expected the first phase will start around October this year and all the restoration works are expected to be completed in 2010. The owner's representative is now sourcing manufacturers in Guangdong Province to produce the glazed roof tiles of different styles. Estimated quantities of the roof tiles may exceed 50,000 and the time required for firing is two to three months. In the meantime, a waterproof nylon cover has been installed on the roofs and broken windows as an interim measure to protect the building from rain and typhoons. As a result, no noticeable damage to the building has been caused by the recent typhoon and black rainstorm.
The 1937-built King Yin Lei is a rare surviving example of Chinese Renaissance style that reflects the design and construction excellence of both Chinese and Western architecture in Hong Kong. The "East-meets-West" construction methods have made the building a rarity in Hong Kong and an outstanding piece of art.
Ends/Friday, July 11, 2008