WHO doesn’t love a makeover? In Hong Kong, the old parts of the city are undergoing a makeover. The restoration gives life to ageing structures and brings back the excitement to the vicinity.
One of the structures that were made over is at No. 35 Aberdeen Street in Sheung Wan in the middle of SoHo—the PMQ, which will turn three years old this year since it opened to the public in April 2014.
Police Married Quarters (PMQ) stands on the former second campus of Central School built in 1862. The building was destroyed during the Japanese occupation in 1941 and its remnants were demolished in 1948.
In 1951, to increase police recruitment, a building was constructed with 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms for the police serving at the nearby Central Police Station.
The PMQ building was emptied in 2000 and by 2009, PMQ was included in the list of the “Conserving Central” project. Along with seven other heritage sights in Central, PMQ underwent renovation.
The new structure may have been revamped but something old was kept. The underground tunnel exhibits the foundation of the former school.
In 2014, a revitalized PMQ stands on the address. The two seven-storey buildings and the former Central Junior Police Call Clubhouse were reopened to serve another purpose as Hong Kong’s creative hub, and its new residents are the local design talents.
The former residential units now offer 18,000-square meter of creative space. The converted area houses an exciting array of design galleries, shops, bookstores and office units. The large courtyard is also open to host event and exhibitions. The former clubhouse is now a restaurant retaining its original designs.
The new addition is called the "CUBE" and links the two blocks buildings. An interesting feature of the connection is the “Plateau,” a rooftop garden on the 4th level.
PMQ’s mission is to nurture local designers, provide a stage for creative events and furnish a setting for visitors to experience creative lifestyle.
I read about PMQ in one of the travel magazines and listed it as a must-see place on the next visit to the city.
Fate was on my side that I chanced upon the place while checking out a small dining space recommended by a chef.
The place is indeed very exciting. Like visiting a museum, I hopped from one room to another and worked all seven floors of the two blocks discovering what the talented local artists have created. If I didn’t practice restraint, I would end up purchasing something in each shop.
The effort to repurpose the old Police Married Quarters is quite impressive. PMQ has added to the revitalization of the area and has turned the old institution into a meeting ground for artists and art aficionados.
Yes, PMQ is a PYT in SoHo, HK.
How to get there: PMQ is a 5-10-minute walk from Central-Mid-Levels Escalator or Sheung Wan MTR station.
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