Old house in Ping Shan ピンシャンの古風家
The old style Hong Kong house is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. There are several reasons for this. Certainly a major reason is that the land they sit on is more valuable developed into multi-story buildings. One also has to realize that these old houses don’t have all the modern conveniences though I’m sure they could be retrofitted easily enough. The layouts are certainly nicer than most places you’d find now in Hong Kong with the rooms build around a small, central courtyard/garden.
A few weeks ago, I ventured out to the Western part of the New Territories with a friend, her uncle and a couple of cousins to Ping Shan to see an example of such a house and to do some photography. It was nestled in the middle of a small village, surrounded on all sides by apartment blocks of five or six stories. I was amazed that it hadn’t been torn down because the size of the lot would have been worth quite a bit. Apparently the reason it’s still up is due to some family or legal dispute (more likely both). I also found out that the uncle we were with used to live in this particular house when he was growing up.
Sadly, Hong Kong is not known for its skills at preserving unique buildings as several high profile cock-ups have shown just in the couple years I’ve been here. Thankfully, the public is waking to the fact that heritage preservation is important and is beginning to put more pressure on the government. The difficulty being that the government still tends to be firmly in the hip pocket of property developers.