An Ecologically Sensitive Continuation of the Old Tai Po Police Station: Green Hub
June 19, 2023
Atop a verdant hill in Tai Po, closely overseeing the Tolo Harbour in the old days before reclamation, stands the first police station and headquarters in Hong Kong’s New Territories. It was constructed in 1899 during the early British colonial period and became the region’s oldest surviving police station that was well in use until 2006. The Old Tai Po Police Station, which was built in Utilitarian style, retained much of its original appearance and architectural features over 120 years. It has been listed as a Grade 2 historic building before commencing renovation works in the early 2010s, and the status was later upgraded as a Declared Monument in 2021.
Rather than simply preserving the buildings as a museum, the Hong Kong SAR government designated the complex to be operated by Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden as the Green Hub, providing a variety of public programmes to promote low-carbon living for all ages. By taking into consideration the site’s historical, architectural and ecological significance, the Green Hub has become a landmark to rouse public appreciation and support for heritage conservation in Hong Kong.
The police station complex consists of a spacious lawn surrounded by three single-storey buildings: the main building in the east, staff quarters block in the west and canteen block in the north. The Green Hub’s project design adopted international guidelines and chapters for heritage conservation, as well as referencing available records for the renovation.
To minimise disturbance to the physical fabric of the site, the new spatial programme has been carefully adapted to the original layout. For example, the canteen block continues to serve as the new Eat Well Canteen to promote a low-carbon, locally sourced diet; the former dormitory and quarters have been kept for residential use as guest rooms; the former charge room, office, cell units and armoury have been preserved and are today used as a heritage display area.
The Green Hub conserves two old and valuable trees along with 39 other mature trees on-site, as well as the neighbouring Tai Po Market Egretry. The presence of these valuable natural assets required holistic design and work planning to assure their safeguarding.
For example, during the renovation period from 2013 to 2015, a protective ‘bird curtain’ was set up alongside the walking path at the northern side of the project site to reduce disturbance to the birds. High-disturbance activities such as the roof renovation and noisy works were avoided during the egret breeding season from March to August, and an ecologist conducted weekly field surveys throughout the renovation.
Before the Green Hub commenced service, a bird screen was set up along the north walking path, where the access is monitored and controlled to reduce disruption to wildlife.
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Revitalisation of Old Tai Po Police Station into Green Hub
11 Wan Tau Kok Lane, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong
6,600 square metres
Gross Floor Area
1,252 square metres
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Thomas Chow Architects Limited
Junic Construction Company Limited
Building Services Engineering
Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Limited
Civil & Structural Engineer
APT Engineering Consultant Limited
Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
“Heritage Appraisal of Old Tai Po Police Station, No. 11 Wan Tau Kok Lane, Tai Po, the New Territories”. Antiquities and Monuments Office, HKSAR, 2011