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'Hong Kong's Central Reclamation Phase III'
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。)



'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.










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