Address: 18 Ventris Road
Completion date: September 1960
Architect: Eric Cumine
Owner/Developer: Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres
When St. Paul’s Secondary School first opened in September 1960, it was described as an “ultra-modern secondary school” by a South China Morning Post article. The school was designed by the renowned architect Eric Cumine and was erected on the site of a former orphanage founded by the French sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres in 1903. The building was bombed during the Second World War (click here if you want to know more about the long history of the sisters in Hong Kong) and was left vacant for almost 20 years. With a flat roof, white geometric façades, and large rectangular windows, the building embraced all the features of modern architecture. The school was planned to accommodate 600 girls comprising classrooms, a library, science labs, an assembly hall, and plenty of covered outdoor playgrounds. On top of common modernist materials such as steel, glass and in this case precast concrete louvers, a striking characteristic is found in the open layout of the top and lowest floors. Free from walls, a series of round concrete columns support the building structure which not only allows for better circulation but also gives the impression that the building is floating above the ground. The interior finishes showcase new materials used at the time, such as vinyl flooring tiles in the classrooms and teak strip flooring for the assembly hall.