Nearly one half of Hong Kongers reside in public estates, and an estate centre lies the heart of most projects. Like a microcosm of the city, estate centres typically integrate market, mall, parking, recreation, services in a single building. Over 150 such civic buildings were constructed between Wah Fu Estate in 1967 and the mass privatization of estate centres in 2005, two events that bookend the studio’s research, yet no systematic study of estate centres have been undertaken. Despite their critical civic amenity, estate centres today are threatened by age, neglect, commercial pressure and ad hoc renovations. The first estate center at Wah Fu is being demolition wholesale.
Part 1 of a three research effort, Retail Reset catalogued estate centres. By celebrating their architectural legacy, the research seeks to raise awareness and sensitivity for unique building type tuned over 60 years of innovations to the climate, topography and people of Hong Kong.