Rediscovering the beauty of King Yin Lei

by Teresa Chow on Oct 31, 2012 in Architecture
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In bidding to adaptively reuse King Yin Lei, Affect-T finds new appreciation for the gem sitting high above the city of Hong Kong

Based on possible uses suggested by the Hong Kong government in its call for proposals, the 75-year-old King Yin Lei mansion could be converted into cultural facilities, exhibition or convention halls, or educational institutions. “But other than that, we have to come up with the brief ourselves, which is quite unlike normal design competitions,” says Dylan Rice Baker, whose team at Affect-T is competing for the project. “The site is amazing, but as any new structure is banned from being taller than the mansion, we are exploring the possibilities of building underground.”

Built in around 1937, the mansion was a private residence. Collaborating also with Fredric Mao – the master of modern theatre in Hong Kong – they came up with the idea of creating a modern Chinese opera theatre next to the old mansion. A three-storey complex comprising both a 400-seat auditorium at the lower level and a fine dining restaurant on the top, was then conceived. The notion of two entrances was introduced – one from the house level, the other one opening on the side that requires audiences and visitors to use the stairs to walk under the road to bring people down into the complex.

Although the result of the competition hasn’t yet been announced, Baker says such exercises help him to appreciate Hong Kong’s heritage — while reinforcing the fact that to revitalise it, ingenious ideas are always required. “We didn’t want to do something traditional. If we did, it would only be a cheap copy,” he says.

See Suzanne Miao’s blog on King Yin Lei for more: