Heritage preservation and commitment to the community
In 2016, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust generously provided a grant for the University to support the revitalization of the existing Grade 3 heritage buildings at the Mount Davis site, including the introduction of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Heritage Preservation Project and the conservation and development of The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Campus, where The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Courtyard and Interpretation Centre is situated. The grant also supports The Hong Kong Jockey Club Programme on Social Innovation, which is operated by Chicago Booth with support from the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. It aims to enhance Hong Kong’s social impact through strengthening the social service sector by combining the best of the University’s education, research and global perspective with social impact-specific programs and local collaborations. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Programme on Social Innovation also offers scholarships to Booth’s Executive MBA degree program and Executive Education non-degree courses, as well as events and workshops in fields like impact investing, social entrepreneurship and NGO board governance.
Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings
The campus and faculty design, by Revery Architecture (formerly known as Bing Thom Architects), combines modern functionality with the preservation of and respect for the site’s history, featuring the adaptive reuse of existing heritage buildings on the site.
Block A, one of the heritage buildings with its timber staircase and rustic stone fireplace restored, is now used for classrooms and student lounges. Having an open design and walls with square latticed patterns, Block B maintains the detention cell marks from the past on the ceiling and walls. Glass partitioning was added to prevent air from escaping the air-conditioned classroom while allowing both sides to have a view, giving the block new life through the inclusion of a classroom. The Block B building is now used for classrooms and group study rooms, connecting with Block B Annex–home to The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Courtyard and Interpretation Centre–via an interior staircase and is guarded by metal grille and gate and kept visible from the Annex.
Having previously been part of the Victoria Road Detention Centre, The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Courtyard and Interpretation Centre will present permanent and rotating exhibits with guided tours highlighting the unique history of the Mount Davis site, and will be open to the public free of charge by online appointment, starting in December.
“The University is committed to conserving the site while giving it new life to fit its new function as an educational facility. Through the collaboration with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Campus will demonstrate the University’s commitment to the support of and integration with the Hong Kong community,” said Ka Yee Lee, vice provost for research and professor of chemistry; chairperson of the Faculty Advisory Board of The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong.
As part of the revitalization process, exterior heritage elements in The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Campus such as the disused battery gun, the emplacement and ancillary structures have been made accessible to visitors, while the heritage trails on the Hong Kong campus were made to connect with the public hiking trail on Mount Davis. With the campus’s open design, the public will have access to heritage trails on a daily basis and is welcome to visit the campus’ open area.
The University will host a heritage and community day on Dec. 2, when the Hong Kong facility is open to the public to visit, with panel discussions on the site’s architecture and conservation, as well as various art installation and literary exhibits.