To Secretary for Development, Director of Planning,
We urge you to preserve the General Post Office (GPO) in Central Hong Kong!
The General Post Office has witnessed the history of the postal service and is part of the public’s collective memory since its completion in 1976, due to being adjacent to the former Central ‘Star’ Ferry building.
The former Central Government Offices, Hong Kong City Hall and the original Bank of China building represent the best modernist architecture of the 1950s. Architecture from the late 1960s and 1970s is best represented in the Central Business District by the Murray Building and the GPO – both these buildings are excellent examples of modernism with elements of Brutalism which are rare in Hong Kong. Your government has wisely preserved the successfully repurposed Murray Building and we urge you to also preserve the architecturally significant GPO.
The demolition of the GPO was not mentioned in the consultation document of the Urban Design Study for the New Central Harbourfront a decade ago. Two years ago it was announced that the land would be sold and the GPO to be demolished. This decision was made with no public consultation and is unacceptable because:
- The General Post Office embodies important social, economic and cultural value. Over the past 40 years and despite the recent surge in usage of the Internet, the GPO has served and continues to connect Hong Kong to the world, promoting social, economic and cultural development and trade.
- Historical Value: The GPO building is the only remaining public building which marks the coastline of the 1960s Central reclamation. Former iconic buildings, including the Central ‘Star’ Ferry building and pier, Queen’s Pier, Blake Pier, and the United Pier have all been knocked-down. The current GPO building represents the three previous generations of General Post Offices on Hong Kong Island – the current building, the fourth, is the last remaining GPO building in Hong Kong.
- Architectural Value: The simple and elegant General Post Office is an excellent modernist building designed by local architects. The design of each floor is closely related to postal functions with the entire design emphasizing the principle of “form follows function”, making the building an exceptional example of modernist architecture. The international conservation organization, Docomomo International, has listed the Hong Kong General Post Office as being “heritage in danger”, appealing to the Hong Kong government for its preservation.
- Preservation: The government has ignored the preservation of the GPO over commercial considerations in the development of Site 3 of the new Central Reclamation. The GPO building can easily be repurposed for all kinds of public uses. If preserved, the government will be honoured with its foresight in future years – just like it has been honoured for its vision to preserve Central Police Station, Central Market, PMQ and the remarkable modernist complex of the former Central Government Offices.
We urge the government to withdraw the decision to demolish the General Post Office, to re-evaluate the building, and conduct a public consultation!