Preservation Good News: West Wing of the Former Government Offices
by Michael Wright, John Aitkin and John Charter, Hong Kong, China, 1960s-1970s
DATE: 14/6/2018
In December 2012, after Docomomo International had issued a Heritage Alert (June 2012) in collaboration with ICOMOS, the Board of the Hong Kong Antiquities Authority classified the West Wing of the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong level 1, the highest grade under the Hong Kong legislation, and determined it would be retained for government use to house Department of Justice offices instead of being sold for a commercial development.

“The three buildings in the Central Government Offices (CGO) Complex are all post-war buildings built in three phases with the East Wing completed in 1954; the Main Wing and Legislative Council Chamber in 1956; and the West Wing in 1959. A new Annexe was added to Main Wing in 1989 after the relocation of the Legislative Council to its present location in 1985. The West Wing at the Lower Albert Road level underwent a major transformation in 1998.
The CGO buildings are low-rise structures, situated in a well-wooded setting. They display the characteristics of the functionalist style of architecture, prevalent during the early to mid-20th century. The exteriors of the buildings have been altered over the years with additional storeys and changed finishes. The Main Wing is the best piece of architecture with special attention given to detail, while West Wing has the least significance.
Government House and other historical buildings in the vicinity have enhanced the historical and cultural significance of the site.” In Conserve and Revitalise Hong Kong Heritage website

However in January 2018, realizing that no specific measures were being undertaken to respect and retain the authenticity and integrity of the original building, Docomomo International submitted to the local authorities a request of preservation of the original materials.

In result, Docomomo International is glad to announce that the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government, Ms Carrie Lam, agreed on the preservation of the exterior wall coating instead of painting the façades like it was previously planned, since as commended by the specialist, the restoration of the original finishes (tiles) would be fairly smooth.

Docomomo International congratulates all efforts conducted in the sense of protecting the West Wing of the Central Government Offices authenticity from which we can still learn today.

More information: website
Icomos Heritage Alert (Update December 2012): website