Too New, Too Ugly, and Too Unimportant? Conserving Modern Architecture in Hong Kong 太新,太醜,太不重要?

Carmen C. M. TSUI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsPolicy or Profession paperProfession


A New York Times article on 25 December 2020 reported that groups across Asia were rallying to save modern buildings that officials considered “too new, too ugly or too unimportant to protect from demolition.” It cited Hong Kong’s General Post Office (GPO), completed in 1976, as an example of a modern landmark in danger of eradication. The land where the GPO stands will be sold for commercial development as part of the government’s new Central Harbourfront plan. Although conservation activists have made repeated calls to save the GPO over the past few years, the Lands Department upholds the decision that the GPO needed to be demolished and removed. In addition, the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) has decided not to conduct any heritage grading assessment on this building due to its short history. The government’s indifference to the GPO reflects common prejudices in making conservation decisions that favour the old over the new, the ornate over the plain and monumental architecture over everyday buildings. Are modern buildings too new, too ugly, and too unimportant to be preserved?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114–117
Number of pages4
JournalHKIA Journal = 香港建築師學報
Issue number77
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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