Revitalisation of Sun Tin Wai Commercial Centre: Recreating a Traditional Village in the City

Commercial / 2nd Quarter 2024

Revitalisation of Sun Tin Wai Commercial Centre: Recreating a Traditional Village in the City

by Ian Tan, PhD

June 11, 2024

Liminal spaces often give off a sense of foreboding. Despite the unease they cause, they are still created inevitably in large developments. One reason is the way design and functional planning are parcelled out to different designers. Oftentimes, transitory or service areas are neglected.

Many such leftover spaces are found in Sun Tin Wai Commercial Centre (STWCC), a 42-year-old public housing estate shopping mall. Located on steep sloping grounds, the five-storey-tall building provides an essential connection between the street-level bus terminal and high-rise apartment towers located on top of a quiet hillock in Sha Tin.

Like a connective organ, SWTCC has multiple accessways, ranging from lifts and stairs to ramps. The latter were originally built to serve the delivery needs of the modest fresh food market on the fifth floor, and other dry goods stores and provision shops one storey below. These long, gentle ramps have since become the preferred egress for the estates’ ageing residents. Boxed in and tucked in different corners of STWCC, these long, winding ramps were originally dark, dingy and unsettling to pass through even during broad daylight.

Sunlink Holdings (Hong Kong), the leaseholder for the centre, commissioned One Bite Design Studio (onebite) to rejuvenate these neglected spaces and inculcate a strong place identity. Adopting a people-centred approach, onebite drew insights from the physical and mental needs of different age groups and tested out design strategies to foster both an active lifestyle and a sense of belonging.

The result is brightly lit ramps decked in vibrant duotones to differentiate between “active ramps” for faster walkers and “interactive ramps” containing recreational activities for those preferring a leisurely stroll. Passers-by could train their hand-eye coordination by running a metal ring through a topsy-turvy track mounted on the walls. As one walks to the upper floors, the colour of the walls progresses from darker tones to brighter shades. This invokes the sensations of entering a weicun (圍村) or wai village, by crossing the stone walls and stepping into the sunlit courtyard.


Project Name
Revitalisation of Sun Tin Wai Commercial Centre

Sun Tin Wai Estate, Sha Tin

Completion Date
1 October 2022

Site Area
15,000 square metres

Sunlink Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited

Architecture Firm
One Bite Design Studio Limited

Principal Architect
One Bite Design Studio Limited

Main Contractor
Jetline Construction Co. Limited

Electrical Engineer
Sunland Plus

Civil & Structural Engineer
JMK Consulting Engineers Limited

Quantity Surveyor

Tai Ngai Lung

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Read more stories from FuturArc 2Q 2024: In-between Spaces!


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