Adaptive re-use : producing neo-Victorian space in Hong Kong

Hung Lam, Elizabeth HO

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4 Citations (Scopus)


As a former British colony. Hong Kong struggles to reconcile itself to its Chinese identity. The need to manage colonial spaces that evoke 'unsafe' memories - but without demolishing examples of the territory's colonial architecture and history - has become a priority. While "adaptive re-use" projects promote conservation and preservation, an unintended and much desired side effect is decolonisation. In this essay, I claim adaptive re-use as a neo-Victorian spatial practice sought by the Hong Kong government to control and sanitise public space against the chaos and urgency of native streets in much the same way as did Hong Kong's nineteenth-century colonial administrators. This essay is a study of 1881: Heritage, the transformation of the former Marine Police Headquarters into a heritage hotel, museum and luxury shopping center. Via tourist snapshots and wedding portraits, the public's use of 1881: Heritage reclaims and transforms the space into a site of intimacy, offering a new approach to experiencing the production of Victorian space in and for the present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeo-Victorian cities : reassessing urban politics and poetics
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9789004292338
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • 1881: Heritage
  • British colonialism
  • Hong Kong
  • adaptive re-use
  • architecture
  • conservation
  • decolonization
  • intimacy
  • public space


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