While new high-rise construction proceeds at a dizzying pace, I was delighted to find that some attempts have been made to preserve and repurpose significant historic structures.
The initials stand for “Police Married Quarters.” Located in Central on Hong Kong Island, this was the original campus of the Central School of Queen’s College, formed in 1862. Later, it was transformed into living accommodations for rank-and-file police officers. Having stood vacant for some years, it was spared from demolition under a program called Conserving Central. The listed building has now been upgraded, refurbished and reinforced, with the former living spaces transformed into a hive of studios, offices and shops for the creative industries. More than 100 enterprises have made their home here, including those involved in fashion, furniture design, jewelry and food. We particularly enjoyed watching a cooking class in progress and wandering among the small one-off shops. You will also find numerous restaurants and cafés. 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel. 852-2870-2335.
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Just a short walk from The Upper House, a three-and-a-half-acre site has been converted to house the Hong Kong branch of the Asia Society, with spaces for performances, exhibitions and screenings. The visually striking AMMO restaurant was once a 19th-century ammunition storage depot for the British army. (You can still follow the rail tracks used for transporting munitions.) An excellent Italian menu offers dishes such as marinated black cod with miso and eggplant, pappardelle with veal-and-pork meatballs, and angel-hair pasta with uni, cherry tomatoes and garlic chips. 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty. Tel. 852-2103-9511.