|323 Des Voeux Road Central, Sheung Wan 上環德輔道中323號|
Completion year: 1906
|The building was originally the old Western Market (North Block), which was identified by Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) as one of the Declared Monuments in 1990. At present, it is the oldest market building surviving in Hong Kong.
Since the former Urban Council's market facilities came into operation in 1989, the market building became vacant.
Urban Renewal Authority (URA) (The former Land Development Corporation) converted the market into a centre of traditional traders, arts and crafts in 1991 and renamed it as "the Western Market". Refurbishment taken place again in 2003. Adopting the concept of adaptive-reuse, the building has been brought back to their useful economic life by accommodating theme restaurant and boutique shops that turning the building and the vicinity into a place for lifestyle shopping and leisure activities.
The building is in Edwardian style that was popular in England from 1901 to 1918.
The market is a combination of exuberantly classical facades and planning in a logical and spacious manner as inspired by the axial, symmetrical planning.
Combination use of red bricks and granite band on a granite base and the 'bandaged' brick work to the corner towers gives a polychromatic effect.
The arcade at First Floor to the Morrison Street facade is richly sculpted with keystone and regular blocks interrupting the arch as well as large and handsome granite arch over the main entrance giving the building a decorative effect. Triangulated gable front below is an elegant venation window with the central round headed arch openings.
Cast iron structural columns, steel roof truss and the large local quarried granite steps to the corner staircase towers demonstrate the excellence of constructional technique at the time.
In response to the local climate and availability of material, a steep roof is used covered with Chinese pan and roll tiles. The roof displays the combination of oriental features into the early Western style of building in Hong Kong.The building consisted of two main floors originally and each floor measures approximately 1120m². To make use of its high ceilings, the ex-LDC built an additional floor in between the two original floors and removed the partial ceiling of the First Floor in order to expand the usable space. The mezzanine floor was built independently from the original structural system so as to retain the original design and structure.
In 2003, URA went through a series of public tendering and manager selection process for Western Market. Based on the ideas of efficiently using the resources of the public sector through the versatility of the private sector, together with revitalization of protected monuments as the aim, URA eventually appointed Telford Recreation Club Limited under The Lifestyle Group as the Manager of Western Market.
While legally bound to maintain the historical building up to prescribed standard, the Manager at the same time is given the right to decide on the tenant mix and its sub-lease terms, guaranteeing URA a minimum return. As a result, Western Market as a Declared Monument, not only its long-term maintenance does not require public funding, it further brings about certain guaranteed revenue.
When The Lifestyle Group introduced new management philosophy in May 2003, all 30,000 sq ft of lettable area of Western Market was fully let within a short period of time despite the outbreak of the SARS, with record-high leasing revenues as well as move-in of household names in the market, garnering patronage from both local residents and tourists. Among the tenants, The Grand Stage Ballroom Restaurant also established itself as a unique venue for weddings and banquets in Hong Kong. Today, not only the historical architecture of Western Market is permanently protected by law, the building itself also proved that the cooperation between public and private sectors can bring about tremendous success.