Revamping spaces

Revamping spaces

15 June, 2012
Detour Hong Kong
An old prison is adapted for creativity and education

The site of countless ghost tales, lost souls, and haunting histories, the Victoria Prison was the first prison in Hong Kong. Built in 1841, it closed in 2005 and has been declared a historic monument together with the former Central Police Station adjacent to it. The granite and brick building has the façade of Victorian architecture and during its history has been used as a prison, an asylum for Vietnamese refugees, a government printing workshop after the Japanese invasion as well as a transit and repatriation centre.
The government seems keen to breathe new life into the historic architectural cluster, giving it over to cultural events such as the highly successful art exhibition called Detour, which brought together many of Hong Kong’s students and emerging creative talent to showcase their pieces and artistic expression to the community. With different types of spaces ranging from prison cells to spacious common areas to dark corners and sunny outdoor courtyards, the space and art pieces complemented one another so that the pieces merged with their surrounding environments.
A number of pieces were specially related to the environment and promoting sustainability. These included an installation comparing the food miles of honey depending on where the product was bought; mannequins dressed with used plastic to bring awareness about consumption and waste; cardboard installations; and chairs created with recycled materials. The event provided an excellent use of the usually neglected prison space, and illustrated how welcome it would be to see a more long-term and permanent plan for creative use of the site.

By: Ecozine Staff


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