A derelict low-rise block in Kennedy Town built during the 1960s has undergone a dramatic makeover.
The Tung Fat building, a tong lau – a Cantonese expression for walkup tenements – once upon a time housed both apartments and businesses. It is now home to eight luxury apartments.
The Tung Fat Building literally translates to “get rich together”. Rather than tearing up the tong lau and substituting it with yet another skyscraper, developers decided to preserve the original building and carry out an atypical refurbishment.
Stephen Javens, the building’s architect, spoke to the New York Times on his aspiration to preserve the buildings: “Once these buildings are gone, they are gone forever. I hope this building encourages people to preserve other parts of Hong Kong’s built heritage.”
Speaking about their adventurous venture, the Melbourne-based design firm said that they “remained as true as possible to the original aesthetics of the building, working to preserve such elements as the cast terrazzo handrail and the mouldings.”
While the building was refurbished, the architects cautiously retained the modernistic elements of the original tong lau.
The six-foot windows in the renovated building offer a spectacular view of the Stonecutters Bridge in Tsing Yi.
Kerry Phelan, another architect working on the Tung Fat Building, kept in mind the importance of ample room while designing the building’s refurbishment. “Hong Kong is a vibrant and exhausting city, where spaciousness is essential – especially when working in such confined spaces,” she said.
The renovation costs amounted to HK$30 million in total, and monthly rents start at HK$78,000.