Purcell are Heritage Consultants for the revitalization of the State Theatre in Hong Kong, a seminal Modernist building in North Point district, once known as “Little Shanghai”.
Commissioned by clients, New World Development, Purcell and WilkinsonEyre are working on a major renovation programme that includes the re-development of a whole city block to create a new cultural hub, with the renovated State Theatre at its heart.
Designed by Architects George W. Grey and S.F. Lew and built in 1952, the State Theatre is grade I-listed and despite years of redevelopment nearby, it has managed to retain its strong visual presence due to its prominent position alongside the Hong Kong Tramway and its long, easterly vista. Since the building’s opening in 1952, it has paved the way in promoting performance art and culture in Hong Kong.
The State Theatre is a rare survival from the early Post-War years, when performance art was extending its global reach to enrich the culture of ordinary people. This programme of sensitive and considered adaptation will liberate the building to become the visual and cultural focus of ‘Little Shanghai’ once more.
The theatre is a distinctive exemplar of the architectural Modern movement in Hong Kong. Uniquely, the building has a roof structure composed of externally exposed reinforced concrete parabolic arch beam roof trusses supporting a suspended reinforced concrete-curved roof hung below.
The project aims to breathe new life into the building and make good the damage to its structure which occurred when a fire broke out in 1995. It will also reconfigure the auditorium, which in 1999 was adapted into a billiards and snooker club. Overall, the project will restore and revitalise the theatre, reinstating its former glory to create the centerpiece of a new and vibrant cultural district.
The State Theatre is an exciting landmark project for Purcell’s Hong Kong Studio. It presents a fantastic opportunity to expand our portfolio of conservation work on Post-War architecture in Hong Kong. We are looking forward to resolving the technical challenges related to the conservation of modern concrete construction within this unique work of 20th-century architecture.
Currently Purcell are undertaking a range of early stage activities including the preparation of a Conservation Management Plan, condition surveys and a heritage impact assessment of the emerging design proposals.