After numerous delays to the completion of Hong Kong’s Central Police Station (CPS) Revitalization Project, which will see the former station transformed into the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts, the Jockey Club CPS Limited—the not-for-profit operator that manages the refurbishment—announced on April 19 that the compound’s doors will open to the public for a soft launch on May 25.
Covering 16 historic buildings and outdoor spaces spread across 13,600 square meters in the Central financial district, the opening of Tai Kwun will be divided into three phases. The new art gallery, auditorium and outdoor spaces of the Parade Ground and the Prison Yard will open in mid-2018, along with several other buildings, such as the Police Headquarters Block and Superintendent’s House. The second phase, which will take place later in the year, will open four other buildings: the Armoury, Married Sergeants’ Quarters, Single Inspectors’ Quarters and Central Magistracy. The opening date for the last block, the Married Inspectors’ Quarters—which collapsed in May 2016 and raised a red flag for the building’s standard of repair work—is yet to be released.
Of the opening preparations, Tai Kwun director Timothy Calnin said, “In the coming weeks, we shall continue to dedicate all our efforts to the final preparations for Tai Kwun’s opening. These include completion of interior fit-outs; the installation, testing and trial runs of a full range of facilities, systems and equipment; staff recruitment and training; as well as putting the final touches on the opening programs and activities.”
The opening ceremony this May and community events to follow will have a cap on visitor numbers, allowing close monitoring of the heritage site and time to fine-tune the operation before it is fully open to the public. A series of facility tests have taken place, and following the inspections of 15 historic buildings, the art gallery and auditorium, the authorities have certified the quality of conservation, restoration and public safety measures of the sites.
Julee WJ Chung is the assistant editor of ArtAsiaPacific.