Sports & Culture
Tai Kwun: A space that soothes and stimulates
Kilian Chan: “I really enjoy every part of Tai Kwun. For me, this is a space for people to catch their breath in Central.”
Kilian Chan can’t recall how many times he has visited Tai Kwun. Sometimes he goes there for concerts or exhibitions. Other times, to meet friends at the restaurants there. “I really enjoy every part of Tai Kwun. For me, this is a space for people to catch their breath in Central,” says Kilian.
Kilian grew up around Central and Sheung Wan and still lives in the neighbourhood. Aside from his day job in finance, he is an amateur cellist who loves the arts, architecture, and classical music. As a child, he was drawn to the elegant neoclassical building on Hollywood Road on his way to school, though he had no idea what kind of place it was back then.
For more than 180 years, these buildings have borne witness to significant chapters of Hong Kong’s history. The former Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison were listed as Declared Monuments in 1995. In 2008, the Hong Kong SAR Government and The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced a joint partnership to revitalise the Central Police Station compound in a not-for-profit model. The site includes heritage buildings, two new buildings – JC Cube and JC Contemporary – and several outdoor spaces – Parade Ground, Prison Yard and Laundry Steps – with a mix of restaurants and shops that together create a lively art, cultural and leisure destination for all to enjoy.
After a decade of conservation and revitalisation, Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts officially opened to the public in 2018. The meticulously restored historic buildings have drawn streams of visitors since. Tai Kwun invites the public to go in for a stroll, take a break under the giant mango tree or relax in the Parade Ground. In 2019, Tai Kwun received the Award of Excellence in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. This is the highest honour of the prestigious Awards, recognising the project’s revitalisation efforts.