HONG KONGISH

As Quarry Bay’s latest landmark tops out, MARK JONES looks at how a former industrial neighbourhood is changing its image

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The story of Quarry Bay – from company town to high-rise neighbourhood. By MARK JONES

港人.港語

Mark Jones細說鰂魚涌由工業城區變身高樓林立的摩登社區的故事

隨著鰂魚涌新地標快將落成, Mark Jones探討這個舊工業區如何改頭換面

NEVER BEEN TO a topping out ceremony? Hang around in Hong Kong long enough there’s a good chance you will as yet another tower gets added to the skyline.

Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city. New York has long been relegated to second place: its 257 tall (more than 150 metres) buildings are 60 short of Hong Kong’s total. Make that 61: the new 220-metre, 48-storey One Taikoo Place has just been topped out in Quarry Bay.

This magazine is produced in neighbouring Cambridge House, which itself topped out in 2003. We are sandwiched between the harbour and the Tai Tam Country Park over the road. Few of us have ever known a corporate topography to rival it. From our 17th floor windows, black kites float above a sub-tropical forest: it feels like sailing though a sea of green.

But those windows also look back over a fascinating chapter in Hong Kong’s history.

An observer from the site of One Taikoo Place in the 1880s – as well as being surprised at being suspended 220 metres in the sky – would have seen the dawn of a new industry: sugar refining. At its height 40 years later, the Taikoo Sugar Refinery, run by John Swire & Sons, was the largest in the world. It was also more than a factory. Workers from Taikoo Sugar and the adjacent Taikoo Dockyard lived in company houses, went to company schools and swam in company swimming pools. There was a company sanatorium in the hills and a company cable car to take them there.

The refinery closed its gates for the last time in 1972 as the Taikoo Sugar brand switched to importing. The factory became a relic of a past that was rapidly being wiped clean by Hong Kong’s 1960s economic boom. The new Hongkongers needed apartments: and soon the sprawling Taikoo Shing development began to turn the eastern part of Hong Kong Island from industrial to residential.

Swire (also parent company of Cathay Pacific) needed to devise a new future for Quarry Bay. It occupies what in most cities would be a prime bayside spot. But Hong Kong has lots of bayside: Central might be fewer than 10 kilometres away, but for much of its history it might as well have been 100 for all the interest it attracted from anyone other than office relocation experts.

As the media gathered for that latest topping out, it was finally clear what the blueprint was: not to be an adjunct of Central, but an alternative – decentralisation, as it’s been dubbed since.

That vision clearly works for the corporate tenants. But can this former company town keep 2018 workers here after 7pm and on weekends?

The urban planners’ buzzword is ‘mixeduse’. So as well as office towers you get flats and serviced apartments, a hotel (EAST), one of the island’s biggest shopping malls, a street food market ( Tong Chong Street Market), a private members’ club (called, in a nod to the past, The Refinery), a co-working space (Blueprint), harbourside walkways, gyms, an exhibition and performance venue (ArtisTree) – and hundreds of restaurants, from hole-in-the-wall noodle joints to highend Japanese and Western restaurants.

Whether during the colonial days or post1997, making communities has not been seen as the job of the civic authorities. The policies that created that economic miracle were unequivocally laissez-faire: let the private sector do it, or it won’t be done at all. So Quarry Bay’s is a very Hong Kong story. But the pressure on developers in 2018 is different to 1880 or 1970: not just to build, but to build new communities. It’s about placemaking and placekeeping, to borrow a couple of vogue words from the urban planning dictionary. Add the über-buzzword for the modern developer, ‘sustainability’, which involves creating green spaces and deploying the latest green tech. Above all, it’s about creating a sense of identity that goes beyond the logo and letterhead.

從未見識過建築物的平頂儀式嗎?不過,只要在香港住上一段日子,就很有機會可以一眼開 界目, 睹這個城的市天際線再添一座摩天大樓。

香港擁有的摩天大廈,數目冠絕全球,就連摩天大廈的發源地紐約亦只能屈居第二,約紐有257幢逾高 150米的大廈,比香港還少60幢。隨著位於鰂魚涌、樓高220米合共48層的全新太古坊一座於日前平頂,雙方差的距更變成61幢。

毗鄰的康橋大於廈 2003年落成是, 本日誌的大本營。這幢辦公大樓矗立於海港和馬對的路 面 大潭郊野公園,之間很少機構能有我們這種優越的地理置位 :從我們位於樓17 的辦公室往窗外眺望,老鷹翱翔於亞熱帶叢林上空彷, 彿在一片碧波中揚帆前進。

同的樣 一扇窗,亦能讓人回望香港歷史的光輝一頁。

除了方對 地220米的高度感到驚詫之外,若站在1880年代的太古坊一座所在地,還可看見當時正冒起的工業:製糖業。40年後由, John Swire & Sons經營的糖太古 廠業務蒸蒸日上,成為全球規模最大的製糖企業。太古糖廠不只是間一 工廠,公司與相連的太古船塢均設有員工宿舍、游泳和池供員工子女就讀的學校。山上還設有養療院,並設附 專用吊車供員工往返。

1960年代香, 港經濟,起飛 隨著太古糖業改為進口業務,糖廠於1972年成功身退,成為歷史陳跡後,更被迅速拆卸。新一代香港人需要居所,催於是生龐的了大太古城發展項,目 令港島東逐漸由工業區變成住宅區。

太古集團(也泰是國 航空的母公司)需要為鰂魚涌策劃少來的新路向。鰂魚涌位 於大部分城市都視之為黃金地段的海傍,不過香港缺並不 乏海傍地段。鰂魚涌距方中環雖不足十公里,但由於以往是個工業區,許人多 覺得這個是 偏遠的地點了;除 專門替辦公室尋找新地點搬遷的專家之外,一般人對這個地方興趣缺缺。

在日前吸引傳媒聚首一堂的平頂儀式上,鰂魚涌的發展藍圖終於清晰展現:這一區無意成為中環的附屬品,而是在中環以外提供另一個選擇,兩者分庭抗禮。

這個願景顯然深受企租業 戶歡。迎 不過,這個昔日由太古一手經營出來的社小區,能否於2018年吸引上班族於下班後和周末繼續逗留其中?

「混合用途」是城市規劃專家潮的語。因此除了辦公大樓之外,鰂魚涌還有住宅和服務式公寓、東隅酒店、港島區其中一個最大的商場、糖廠街市集、私高級 人會所The Refinery(這個名字充滿了向歷史致敬的意味)、共享工作空間Blueprint、濱海 長廊身展、健 室、 覽與表演場地ArtisTree,還有百餐數 家 廳,從深藏小巷內的麵店到高級日式料理與西餐廳等,應有盡有。

無論於殖民時代或回歸後政, 府向來都不是社群展發 的推手。創造昔日經濟奇蹟的政策,是徹頭徹尾的「自由放任」,即一切交由私營機構代勞。鰂魚涌的故事正是香港的縮影,但發展於商 2018年面對的壓,力 與1880年或1970年不可同日而語:除了建設物業,還得建立新群社 。引用城市規劃幾個時髦,術語 這一切都關乎「營造和保留空間」,還有現代發商展的終極潮語「可持續發展」,即創造綠色空間,應並 用最先進的環保科。技 畢竟,最重要的目標,是創造超越公司商標和名字的身分認同。

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