Public Layer, Des Voeux Road, Hong Kong
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1942 to 1945, the road was renamed Shōwa-dori by the Japanese
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