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Result of Selection

Viva Blue House : The Blue House Cluster

The Blue House Cluster (Blue House, Yellow House, Orange House)

Blue House


Address: 72, 72A, 74, 74A Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai

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* G.F.A.: About 1,035 sq. m.

Year Built: 1923-1925

* Grading: Grade 1

Yellow House


Address : 2, 4, 6, 8 Hing Wan Street, Wan Chai

* G.F.A.: About 456 sq. m.

Year Built: 1922-1925

* Grading: Grade 3

Orange House


Address : 8 King Sing Street, Wan Chai

* G.F.A.: About 198 sq. m.

Year Built: 1956-1957

* Grading: Not yet graded
* Possible uses for the Blue House Cluster : Education or Visitor Centre, Recreation Centre or Social Welfare Facility

Selected Project : Viva Blue House

* Applicant: St. James' Settlement (Joint applicants: Community Cultural Concern and Heritage Hong Kong Foundation Limited)
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Capital cost: About $56.91 million

* Government subsidy required for operation of social enterprise: About $ 4.17 million

General Project Description

To establish a multi-functional services complex inheriting wisdom and traditional ways of living. The project includes the following five core units:


House of Stories – a cultural and social innovation unit to systematically record, research, develop and exhibit stories in creative and diverse formats.

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* Existing Resident Housing and Engagement Unit - a sustainable, innovative and people-oriented rental policy for the residents and other units through participatory planning.

Good Neighbour Scheme for new tenants – an open and fair process to identify potential new tenants who will enrich the human capital of the Blue House Cluster.


Social Enterprise Unit (Dessert House and Vegetarian Restaurant) - two innovative and affordable restaurants that can define the unique characteristics of traditional and healthy cuisine, as well as create employment opportunities and bring in additional income.


C.O.M.E. Hall - a community service centre based on a barter system for non-marketable skills and resources.

How to reflect or bring out Historical Significance of the Building

The project will preserve the Blue House Cluster in response to the mixed-use character of Hong Kong tenement houses. The project will:


Reflect its social significance through the rental programs and the C.O.M.E. hall from which the social networks and way of life of the residents will be strengthened and preserved;

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* Reflect its residential significance by preserving the socio-cultural traditions, stories, wisdom and skills of the community through meticulous participatory research with the residents and kaifongs, as well as our dedicated collection of oral histories;
* Reflect its economic significance by passing on and renewing the cultural and food traditions of the district through the House of Stories, restaurants, souvenir Cubicle Shop, weekend food fair, local open market, organic and second-hand shop, etc; and
* Reflect its cultural significance by bringing out the spirit of harmonious interaction among people of all classes through conducting research, organising cultural trails and exhibitions.

Technical and Design Aspects

The project will:


Adopt a phased construction approach to fulfill the majority wishes of existing residents to stay and witness the renovation of the Blue House Cluster, as well as to maintain their social ties during the renovation period;

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* Preserve the mixed-use character of Hong Kong tenement houses by embracing a range of different uses in the Blue House Cluster. There will be residential units for existing and new tenants, a traditional dessert restaurant and a vegetarian restaurant, units for cultural and community programs and show flats to reflect the living condition in the early days of Hong Kong; and

Strike a balance between minimum intervention to the relics and modification for new uses by providing new toilets and kitchens at the rear space of every unit to every tenant, modifying the window at the rear wall of every unit as fire escape, adding new bridges, staircases and lift core that form a new social space surrounding the courtyard and opening up the enclosing walls at the rear yards of ground floor units.

Social Benefits

This project serves as Hong Kong's first community-led, bottom-up and participatory heritage conservation model which integrates culture and heritage into development and pioneers community revitalisation. The project will:


Propel the sustainable development of an old community through tangible and intangible heritage preservation, cultural and social innovation, and creative social enterprises and entrepreneurship and sustainable regeneration models;


Strengthen the social networks of local residents in Wanchai and maximise cultural connectivity of visitors;


Provide affordable residential accommodation for tenants who are connected to the Wanchai district and willing to contribute to the project;


Act as catalyst to initiate community innovation programs by upgrading and renovating the existing structurally sound neighborhoods, and reintegrating resources in the local community; and


Provide employment opportunities for the underprivileged groups in the local community.

Selected Organisation


St. James' Settlement was established since 1949 under Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, which is a multi-social service agency, providing comprehensive service to meet the needs in our society, to enable the individuals to help themselves and to help others, and to build an integrated and harmonious community.

* Community Cultural Concern is a charitable institution established in 2006. Learning from the experience of the U.S., Japan and Taiwan, the organisation advocates public participation in community building.
* Heritage Hong Kong Foundation Limited is a charitable institution which was established in 2006 with the objective of becoming a focal point for action and ideas on heritage and conservation issues in Hong Kong.

Way Forward

* The selected organisation has to:
  • Complete the detailed project design;
  • Complete the required administrative procedures;
  • Seek planning permission from the Town Planning Board on the intended usage;
  • Seek formal funding approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council;
  • Carry out the renovation work (anticipated renovation period: around 18 months);
  • Apply for licences (where applicable) for intended operations; and
  • Sign with government agreements on operations of the social enterprise and preservation of the historic building.
* Anticipated Project Commissioning Time : Q4 2014

Anticipated Breakeven Time : Year 3