Opening in 1884, Butterfield & Swire’s Taikoo Sugar Refinery featured a modern and technologically advanced industrial plant with machinery and buildings including deep water docks and piers for ships, cranes, warehouses, manufacturing and processing buildings, store buildings, coal bins, a rail system and reservoir and water channel systems to collect and transport water from the mountains to the refinery enabling the production of a wide range and high volume of sugar products. Additionally, there was an accompanying company town with housing for local workers and European managers and their families that included social community facilities, schools, recreation facilities and fields and a sanatorium located on the mountains behind the refinery that was accessible by way of an aerial ropeway. Focusing on the design of the Taikoo Sugar Refinery company town housing and its specific geographical setting, this talk will demonstrate how between 1884 and the 1930s Butterfield & Swire proactively prepared for and responded to issues relating to disease, sanitation and building form for workers’ housing in Quarry Bay. This company town was a hybrid form with company town and hill station components. The Taikoo Sugar Refinery and company town was an early (and perhaps the first) example of a company town in Asia with advanced worker housing as well as an example of a Hong Kong company offering worker housing. This talk will discuss the important role of Taikoo in the diffusion and exchange of knowledge of advanced and modern building technology ahead of government building regulation in Hong Kong.
Jennifer Lang is an architectural historian and conservationist who has worked in the conservation field for 30 years. Currently, she is a Lecturer and the Director of MSc (Conservation) at the Architectural Conservation Programmes (ACP), The University of Hong Kong and President of HKICON (Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists). She has a PhD in Architecture from The University of Hong Kong, a MS in Conservation from The University of Hong Kong, a MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and a BA in Art History from New York University. Her research interests include industrial architecture, hill stations, company towns, and cultural landscapes.
Reception opens 6:30 pm, talk starts 7:00 pm
Admission: RAS Members $100; Non-Members / Guests $150
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