Pak Tsz Lane Park has been created to bring a forgotten space, and the history embodied within it, back into contemporary Hong Kong life. The opening of the park in 2011 commemorates this place as the breeding ground to the Xinhai Revolution during its centenary year. As an inner courtyard park within a block of four busy streets criss-crossed by alleys, the space has been largely unnoticed, but was formerly the adjoining site of the revolutionary Furen Society which influenced the course of modern Chinese history through four vital events between 1890s and 1911.Fascinated by the intricacy of this residual urban space, and through the park design, Ronald Lu & Partners intends to recreate the experience of secrecy in the intimate network of alleys and former houses on the site.
The design responds to the terraced conditions and multiple access alleys, providing a new snaking granite-paved ramp route through the terraced landscape.
Ronald Lu & Partners has created a tree-covered park and outdoor terraced and ramped gallery through three main elements that navigate the site’s history including a feature pavilion, four exhibition ‘garden rooms’, and educational children’s play area.
A feature pavilion near the main access provides shelter and views across the park. The five-metre high feature pavilion recalls the former urban fabric at this site. Steel skeleton clad with recycled timber and hollowed Chinese characters set out the revolutionary society’s declaration. On the ground in front, laid granite pavers embedded with the Society’s original English mission statement in steel letters.
The four ‘garden rooms’, bounded with pure white framed walls, inscribe the former lots and highlight chronologically four major revolutionary events.
The educational playground, which is located at the upper southeast terrace, is unprecedentedly incorporated history with play elements. As a multi-sensory discovery experience, the area includes a floor game where children connect maze-like graphics to historic events displayed on pictorial wheels. Talk tubes at the centre of the wheels allow the children to whisper back to the person standing at the origin of the maze.
The park is intentionally lean and green in design, minimizing changes to the site’s old stepped topography. Existing trees are conserved and coupled with new trees giving an overall 25% green ground coverage and 70% canopy coverage.
An old residential well discovered during construction was also retained in-situ adding interest to the park. Visitors and locals as well as young and old can traverse time through space, or simply take rest and contemplate in this hidden urban oasis.
Architect: Ronald Lu & Partners
Project Name: Revitalization of Pak Tsz Lane Park
Location: Central, Hong Kong
Design Team: Eugene Ching, Belinda Law, Gary Pang, Keith Ng
Completion Date: October 2011
Site Area: 880 sq.m
Client/Owner: Leisure and Cultural Services Department, HKSARG
Award: Design for Asia (Bronze) 2013