The Fortress Hill area of Hong Kong Island is not known
for its interesting architecture -- but the bricked building
in the foreground is an exception (even while the big blue
AIA Tower's a more easily noticeable landmark)
A few months ago, the Grade II historic building
was opened to the public as an art space named Oi!
Oi!'s inaugural Embark! Beyond the Horizon exhibition
included France-born, Hong Kong-based Cedric Maridet's
The Mechanics of Shadows: Water Days installation work(s)
Upon returning to visit recently, a friend of mine who had moved back to Toronto a couple of years back remarked on how Hong Kong's physically landscape look to have changed more in just two years than Toronto had in about ten years. While I can't say much about the pace of change in Canada's largest city, I'd agree that Hong Kong is a place where it can often seem like there's more change than continuity -- and a place where far more buildings get torn down and radically renovated as well as built than carefully conserved or preserved.
Consequently, when I saw what appeared to be some building work going on at 12 Oil Street earlier this year, I worried that the building whose architectural style reminded me of some at my old school in England would soon be no more. So imagine my delight upon my discovering some time later that not only was it not torn down but that the arts and crafts architectural style building now was open to the public as the Oi! art space!
Earlier today, I checked out a second exhibition at Oi! If truth be told, I found the inaugural exhibition more impressive. Continuing with the truth telling: I actually was more impressed by the building -- which was originally home to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (that's kept the "Royal" part of its title but moved its headquarters to Causeway Bay -- and its grounds than any of the contemporary artwork that has been displayed at this art space that appears to have been set aside to showcase the work of the younger and more experimental members of the Hong Kong artistic community.
As much as I'm happy to see the building still in existence and now open to the public, I really hope that it won't be(come) a white elephant any time soon. This would be terrible in Hong Kong, where good buildings are scarcer than one would like -- and quite a few people would love to be given an excuse to tear down (or at least drastically "renovate") a nice old building in order to make "more efficient" use of its land and such.