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The Breathing Castle

In Search of the Social Value of University Hall, Hku

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The Breathing Castle by Pui-Shan Yip
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This dissertation, "The Breathing Castle: in Search of the Social Value of University Hall, HKU" by Pui-shan, Yip, 葉佩珊, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: As raised by Randall Mason in his "Fixing Historic Preservation: A Constructive Critique of 'Significance'." Places 16, no.1 (2004: 64-71), scientific methods and objective standards used for conservation have overemphasized the fabric side of the memory/ fabric connection in the 20th century. Conservation efforts have linked the significance of a place to its historical and architectural values, while limiting its economic and social values to secondary status. University Hall, the subject of this dissertation, is facing the same conservation problem - its social value is often ignored. According to English Heritage's Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance (2008: 32), social value is associated with places that people perceive as a source of identity. This sense of belonging is a result of collective memory of stories linked to a place. People therefore have a deeper attachment to a place and they share some common behaviour or attitudes in a place. The social value here fits in perfectly with a heritage place that is the topic of my proposed dissertation: University Hall. Ever since 1864, on the top of Pokfulam hill stands a Castle. The Castle is now named University Hall and is the dormitory of some hundred young men. The student residents call themselves Castlers. Although it is the only hall in HKU in which the building was not originally constructed for student residential purpose, a strong fraternity of students was shaped and even fostered by the architecture itself. Traditions are passed along year by year under the roof of the Castle. This means that the architecture and history of University Hall are the source of the social value. However, English Heritage's Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance (2008: 32) also states that "the social values of places are not always clearly recognised by those who share them, and may only be articulated when the future of a place is threatened." This is the key issue for University Hall and it is also the key issue of my proposed dissertation. Starting from the 1970s, HKU has been recently building high-rise mega residential halls to meet the keen demand for student accommodation. The characters of these newly built halls become relatively homogenous. University Hall, as one of the few surviving residential halls carrying strong tradition and history, is rather special under such context. Although there is no plans to change the use of University Hall, but HKU's development pattern will pose a potential threat. It is therefore important to identify the social value of the place before "the future of [this] place is threatened." In other words, the social value of University Hall has to be clearly recognised by the Castlers who share them, and be able to articulate them, before the redevelopment threat to University Hall becomes real. The reason for this is that in Hong Kong, it is often too late to consider conservation when the future of a place is threatened, as demonstrated by the cases of Star Ferry Pier and Queen's Pier. In a nutshell, this is what my proposed dissertation is about. DOI: 10.5353/th_b4834867 Subjects: Castles - Conservation and restoration - China - Hong KongDormitories - Conservation and restoration - China - Hong Kong
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Author
Contributor
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Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations
colour illustrations
Imprint
Open Dissertation Press
Dimensions
216x279x6
ISBN-13
9781361295250
Product ID
26644803

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