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'Hong Kong's Central Reclamation Phase III'
John BATTEN
at 4:21pm on 22nd May 2024


(John Batten discusses a photograph taken at Hong Kong's Central waterfront reclamation. Originally published in Artomity art magazine, Spring 2024) English & Chinese - scroll down for Chinese 

(文章為約翰百德討論一幅拍攝在中環海濱填海工程的照片。原文於《藝源 - 2024年春》刊登。中文請往下閱讀。)

 

Image: 

'Preparing to pour concrete, Central waterfront reclamation, Central, Hong Kong, 7 February 2024' (Photo: John Batten)

 

 

'Hong Kong's Central Reclamation Phase III'

by John Batten

 

A pile foundation is given its final preparation while a group of construction workers on the ground wait for the all-clear to lift a large concrete pourer (on the ground, middle of photograph), to begin the pour. The anticipation of the moment is captured, to be repeated again-and-again as a waiting line of concrete-mixers deliver more concrete.

 

This is the site of the ‘Central Reclamation Phase III’, which officially began in 2003 and became controversial when the old ‘Star’ Ferry building in 2006, and a little later, amidst public protests, the former Queen’s Pier were both demolished. Twenty years later, after the completion of the Central to Wan Chai underground by-pass road as ‘necessary’ infrastructure to justify this reclamation, ground-level construction is only now beginning. 

 

The entire Central waterfront will be altered from its late-1950s holistically planned historic City Hall precinct to provide a linked harbourfront pedestrian walkway from Kennedy Town to Causeway Bay and a large area on which commercial and retail buildings will be constructed. However, the final design of the Central reclamation and the buildings that will occupy it are only vaguely publicly known. 

 

In the background of this photograph is the Hong Kong Bank and the trees of Statue Square – these will remain, but the uniquely brutalist General Post Office building and the nearby (unseen) beautifully modernist ‘Star’ Ferry carpark will soon also be demolished. Everything will be built on, and a scene like this, with machinery, mud or dust, and proud construction workers is what we will see for a few more years. Eventually, what they intend to build, about twenty-five years after it all began, will be revealed.

 

 

樁柱地基正在做最後準備,而照片正中的地面上,建築工人正等待通知訊號,才把大型混凝土澆注機升起和開始澆注。隨著混凝土攪拌機列隊送來更多混凝土,照片拍下了等待澆住的一刻將會不斷重演。

 

這正是「中環填海第III期」所在之處,工程於2003年正式展開。2006年左右,舊天星小輪大樓和前皇后碼頭在公眾抗議中雙雙被拆除,這片工地曾引起爭議。20年後,中環至灣仔的地下繞道落成,一方面成為「必要」基建,另一方面也證明了填海工程的合理性。然而,地面工程才剛剛開始。

 

整個中環海濱歷史悠久,在1950年代後期時曾整體規劃為大會堂區,而它現正經歷全面改建,以提供連接堅尼地城至銅鑼灣的海濱行人步道,以及一大片可供興建商業及零售建築的用地。然而,中環填海工程的最終設計以至將佔用新填土地的建築物,公眾所知少之又少。

 

照片背景是滙豐銀行和皇后像廣場的樹木,兩者均將保留下來,但獨特的野獸派郵政總局大樓,還有附近美麗(不入照)的現代主義天星渡輪停車場,卻將很快被拆除。這裡變成平地後,未來幾年內將繼續像本照片中的場景一樣,機械、泥土或灰塵,還有自豪的建築工人在進行建築工程。他們打算建造的最終樣子,大約在所有工程開始約25年後才會揭盅。



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