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Rebirth of the Former Explosives Magazine

by Asia Society
1 February 2012

Located in the heart of the central business district, Asia Society Hong Kong Center (the "Center") is situated at the Old Victoria Barracks, Former Explosives Magazine site steeped in history, cultural significance and natural beauty.

The 1,364 hectare site, which houses a group of four former British military buildings, was originally built by the British Army in the mid-19th century for explosives and ammunition production and storage. It was then expanded and taken over by the Royal Navy in the early 20th century. The site was later abandoned in 1990s until it was granted to the Center by HKSAR Government for adaptive reuse.  The heritage site was an integral part of the British military lands and as one of the few remaining sites, it is an important tangible link to Hong Kong's past.

Through the vision of internationally acclaimed architects Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and careful conservation, restoration and adaptive reuse, this heritage site was successfully transformed into a cultural, artistic and intellectual hub in Hong Kong in 2012. The Center offers a broad variety of programs in the form of lectures, performances, film screenings and exhibitions to the community.

Revitalized with funds generously donated by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and other local and international individuals and organizations, the Center combines heritage conservation with a distinctive modern aesthetic that has created a dynamic complex allowing the Center to extend its educational programs to the larger community.

GG Block

Listed as a Grade II historical building, GG Block was built circa late 1940s and was once used by the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police. Now, it has been conserved and restored as one of the Center''s administrative offices.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Hall

On the UG level of The Entry Pavilion, behind the reception area, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Hall is a large multi-purpose function hall that can accommodate up to 240 people, banquet style, as well as provide space for lectures, seminars and receptions.

Interactive Corner

Adjacent to the reception area on the UG level of the Entry Pavilion, the Interactive Corner allows visitor to learn more about the conservation, transformation process, and milstones of the heritage site.

Joseph Lau & Josephine Lau Roof Garden

Follow the sound of the Noble Water Feature up the exterior staircase to the stunning Joseph Lau Roof Garden. Standing beside Zhang Huan's Long Island Buddha,  you can enjoy the contrasting scenes of lush green foilage and the urban jungle of Admiralty. This open space allows the perfect setting for outdoor events and a leisurely stroll in the afternoon.

Asia Society Store

Located on the LG level of the Entry Pavilion, Asia Society Store showcases creative designs by local and Asian artists, books by our prominent program speakers and exhibition catalogues. Here you can shop for gifts and souvenirs to remember your experience at the Center.

Chantal Miller Gallery (Formerly Asia Society Gallery)

Former Magazine A, built between 1863 and 1868, this structure is among the oldest remaining military buildings from the colonial period in Hong Kong. Previously used to store explosives and designed to contain accidental explosions, it is now listed as a Grade I historical building, it has been thoughtfully restored and adapted for use as a modern exhibition space of international museum standard.

Miller Theater

Former Magazine B, built between 1905 and 1907, through multiple alterations, this Grade I historical building has now been transformed into a theater equipped with high quality theatrical facilities that encompasses over 100 seats for lectures, performances and film screenings.

Starr-Greenberg Building (Former Laboratory)

Built in 1860s by the British Army and now listed as a Grade I historical building, this structure was originally used for mixing explosives. It now houses one of the Center's offices and two function rooms.

Credit Suisse Room

One of the two meeting rooms in the Starr-Greenberg Building (Former Laboratory), suitable for intimate reception with round-table setting for up to 12 guests.

Lee Quo Wei Room

One of the two meeting rooms in the Starr-Greenberg Building (Former Laboratory), suitable for small-medium sized luncheon event with round-table setting for up to 48 guests.