Kowloon hospital dates back to 1925. It was the
first public hospital in Kowloon Peninsula. Block M was one of the earliest
buildings constructed in the hospital complex. The block initially included
storage and function rooms. In 2013, the hospital authority decided the
building could accommodate new uses, as office space and training centre. (Architects, 2013)
Due to the historical and cultural importance of the
block, the hospital authority demanded a heritage impact assessment for the
reuse of the building. Chau Lam Architects provided the report.
Assessment of impacts in the report depends
essentially on guidance from studies for compliance of Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
(Cap.499), which is a national legislation in Hong Kong. The report also
followed guidelines for Built Heritage
Impact Assessment issued by AMO on 16 May 2008.
of Assessment of cultural significance:
Assessment of cultural significance is based on two
internationally recognized publications, the Australia ICOMOS Burra Chater
(1999) and The Conservation Plan, 7th Edition (2013).
According to that, four levels of significance are
used. They are exceptional, high, moderate and low.
The report measures significance of the block on two
levels, exterior and interior. On the exterior level, the report is concerned
about elements forming elevations, such as windows, walls, external staircase, and roof
details. Moreover on the interior level, the report documents details of
ceiling, handrail, walls and floor finishes as well as doors and windows
The report considers specific articles of Burra
Charter as constraints guiding further interventions with the building during
the adaptive reuse process. This assures sustainable conservation of the
building, under the supervision of experts in the field.
The historic urban fabric is considered an
opportunity for initial interpretation of site. However, the report does not
prefer to keep all historic elements of the building, especially used in
interiors, as this might disturb future use.
The report also assures that an appropriate new
function would be the key element to future sustainability of the building.
This can also enhance the group quality of the hospital complex.
The conclusion of the Heritage Impact Assessment is that the proposed
development will lead to the adaptive re-use of the farmhouse, which is a positive
impact, as it will guarantee that the building receives the deserved
maintenance. However, adaptive reuse of the building will require adding an
external extension which should consider the building’s state and architectural
Construction of a new 3-storey office building is considered a neutral
impact as it wo