Architectural Office, Public Works Department (Szeto Wai, Alan Fitch)
Between Des Voeux Road and Connaught Road, Central
Originally established in 1897; redesigned in 1965
Statue Square was created in 1897 on land initially reclaimed by the city in the early 1890s. It was originally planned with Wadley Street as its central axis, which connected the original Hong Kong Shanghai Bank to the old Queen’s Pier. The square’s name derives from its significance as the site of many key monuments built in honor of many key civic and imperial leaders, including Queen Victoria (1897), Thomas Jackson (Taipan of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, 1906), and Governor Francis Henry May (1923), among others. All were eventually removed by the Japanese in World War II, though Jackson’s statue was later reinstated following the war. The Cenotaph was erected in 1923 next to the Square in memory of World War I soldiers and currently commemorates the end of Pacific War.
Statue Square was redesigned in 1965 in an effort to generate new spatial and visual connections between the Square, the recently reconstructed Queen’s Pier (1954), and the new City Hall, opened in 1962. The new plan was also part of a city-wide movement to provide more green space for Hong Kong’s fast growing populace. A pedestrian bridge built under Connaught Road along the historical axis of the Square ensured its connection to the waterfront, while a series of level changes and collection of asymmetrically placed rectangular pools and planting beds created new formal tension both with the site’s original rectalinearity as well as the new City Hall. Several small pavilions topped with abstracted Chinese traditional roof forms were added in an effort to create interesting new spatial enclosures without obstructing public mobility in and through the site.
Although the Square is no longer the significant circulation route it once was due to the demolition of the Queen’s Pier in 2006, it is supposed to be reconnected to the waterfront when the new Central reclamation park is eventually completed.
– Melissa Cate Christ