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Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Layer Des Voeux Road Hong Kong

The Public Layer, Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong
Year: 2010, Contemplation
Main Use: Exhibition, Infrastructure, Retail
Site Area: approx. N/A
Bldg. Area: N/A
Gross Floor Area: N/A
Storeys: 1

Skywalks are commonly used as connections or short cuts that inter-link between public spaces, shopping malls, residential developments and public transports, spanning above the streets, creating a new kind of interpretation of architectural layer that exists above street levels.

The Public Layer, Hong Kong re-investigates the possibilities of ‘ground’ and re-visits possibilities for social and cultural exchange.  The project identifies and re-activates existing urban grain by introducing various functional qualities, which allow people to pause, interact and reflect. 

It reclaims the existing residual spaces above Des Voeux Road, Central Hong Kong. The project is an insertion of an elevated horizontal public plane that runs in parallel of Des Voeux Road. Co-existing amongst the vertically oriented commercial district, the public layer aims to maximize its investment return while enhancing the quality of public spaces.

The ground level connects street level pedestrians, automobiles and public transports. The architecture straddles over the existing tram stations, which integrates a barrier free pedestrian zone with an extension to cultural and retail spaces, which include galleries, cafes, retail, public seating areas and roof gardens above ground. The roof level forms green parks of varying scales, which enhances the air quality within the densely populated urban context.  

The design is a re-interpretation of land reclamation and re-definition of relationships between infrastructure projects and public spaces. The logic between separating the ground level busy traffic routes, leaving the second level as cultural and retail spaces, while the roof gardens enhance the air quality and visibility from surrounding skyscrapers can be easily adapted to other dense urban contexts. 

 

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Layer Des Voeux Road Hong Kong

Des Voeux Road Central runs from Western to Central. It begins at the intersection with On Tai Street in Western and merges with Queen's Road Central where it becomes Queensway (and, later, Hennessy Road).

Des Voeux Road West runs from Western Shek Tong Tsui. It reaches an alignment several blocks down at the junction with Connaught Road West and becomes Kennedy Town Praya in Shek Tong Tsui.

Des Voeux Road Central is shared between motor traffic and the tram line, with tracks and reserved lanes for the trams laid in the middle of the road. A bus lane runs along the road for most of its length. Part of the MTR Island Line also runs underneath Des Voeux Road, currently terminating at Sheung Wan Station near the Western Market.

Due to the discontinuity between Des Voeux Roads Central and West, the tram line takes a detour along Connaught Road West and then continues along Des Voeux Road West towards Kennedy Town.

The Central-Mid-Levels escalators link Des Voeux Road Central with Conduit Road in the Mid-levels, passing through narrow streets.

 

 

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Layer Des Voeux Road Hong Kong

History

Beginning in 1857, the northern shore of Hong Kong Island (also known as Victoria City) underwent a series of reclamations under then-Governor Sir John Bowring. The first phase of the Praya Reclamation Scheme had a direct effect on this current street, which used to be known as Praya Central during the Colonial Hong Kong era. Bowring's plans were opposed by British merchants who held lands in the Central area, and in response, the government instead commenced work in land reclamation in the Chinese-populated Western District. By the time the reclamation was extended to Central, the newly reclaimed land in Western had already been settled, and there was a discontinuity between the two roads running along the western and middle portions of the reclaimed shoreline. Upon completion, the roads were named Bowring Praya West and Bowring Praya Central respectively.

Another series of extensive reclamation projects began in 1887 under then-Governor Des Voeux. Upon completion in 1904, Bowring Praya West and Bowring Praya Central (which by then were situated inland from the shoreline) were respectively renamed Des Voeux Road West and Des Voeux Road Central per the orders of then-Colonial Secretary and acting Governor Francis Fleming during the Duke of Connaught's visit to Hong Kong in 1890.

From 1942 to 1945, the road was renamed Shōwa-dori by the Japanese occupation government.  

 

 

Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Layer Des Voeux Road Hong Kong

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