Old Village School Building after Green Restoration
Extends Kind-hearted Minds' Very First Educational Legacy
HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 18 November 2021 - The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation Hong
Kong Ltd. (hereafter "Tzu Chi Hong Kong") today announced the Tzu Chi
Environmental Action Center ("Action Center") located on 5 Che Kung Miu Road
will open to the public for free starting November 20 after green restoration
of its original building. The Action Center's environmental programmes,
exhibitions and related expenses, is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Charities Trust. Setting "Common Understanding, Common Consensus, Collective
Action" as its core values, the Action Center aims to promote the public's
awareness of environmental protection that would lead to positive behavioral changes, and hopefully through the strength of collective action to implement environmental protection for body-mind-earth connection, our planet and home could be safeguarded by tackling climatic changes.
Back in 1950s
Hong Kong's economy had yet to take off and the school dropout rate among rural
children was high. A Buddhist Free School was opened in 1954 at the site of now
Action Center to provide basic education for children living in the
neighborhood, thanks to the generous donation by overseas Chinese Boon Haw AW
and Boon Par AW. In 1982, the school
operator Chi Hong Ching Yuen relocated the then-Primary School to a new campus
in Yuen Chau Kok, Shatin. After that, the premises was converted into Chi Hong
Kindergarten that continued to serve the community until year 2000. Chi Hong
Ching Yuen then donated the premises to Tzu Chi Hong Kong for charity purposes
after the school building was left vacant for two years. As the structure
itself is a typical village
school built with local materials, a large part of it was in a state of dilapidation
after six decades of rains and winds.
Hence, a large-scale restoration project was taken place in 2019 to
strengthen its entire architecture, preparing it for the next phase of journey.
Tzu Chi Hong
Kong's Chief Executive Officer Chung Ling SZE said, "Despite the moderate
size of this Action Center, our thoughtful touches throughout the restoration
process can be easily seen anywhere. We follow the 7Rs Rule closely - we
RESPECT all things, both animate and inanimate; REPAIR things to make them durable
as much as possible; RECYCLE all resources in a systematically way; REFUSE
excessive consumption and packaging; encourage to REDUCE at source; REUSE
whenever possible; and RETHINK the importance of the symbiosis between humans
and Earth and promote it - making the Action Center an ideal eco-education
place for the public to engage in experiential learning on environmental
protection through 'Common Understanding, Common Consensus, Collective Action'.
I would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Charities Trust for its donation to support the environmental programmes of the
Action Center, exhibitions and related expenses."
restoration project, revolving around the fundamental concept of "Biophilic
Design" is intended to bring visitors closer to the nature. The building uses
daylighting and natural ventilation, so as to connect the exterior scenery with
the interior. The project's architect Corrin CHAN said, "Tzu Chi Hong Kong
has long been committed to promoting environmental protection in Hong Kong for
many years, advocating 'Purification at Source' and emphasizing the actual
practice of environmental protection. This explains why eco-friendly renovation
appears to be the topmost option. Such transformation has established dialogues
between the then and now, using green architecture as a means of expressing the
Action Center's aim of promoting environmental protection."
the 7Rs Spirit, all restoration works were completed with the use of green building
materials, including fast-growing eco-bamboos which were used as an alternative
to wood on flooring, wall finishes, doors, window frames, windowsills, outdoor
fences, and staircase along with handrails; eco-friendly paints with low VOC
(volatile organic compound) applied on the exterior and interior of the
building; and Palm Eco Board. The rest of materials are: "Da Ai Eco
Plastic Wood" made from PET bottles and PE milk bottles; "Ji Si Eco
Inter-locking Bricks" made from the PE lining of disposed paper containers; as
well as the DIY Yellow Sand Bricks handmade by volunteers. In addition, all
wall and floor tiles of the site were donated by a local developer which has
been keeping the surplus materials from other construction projects in the
warehouse, so as to REDUCE at source.
solar-powered panels installed atop the building can cover all necessary
electricity demand for the structure. Aiming at carbon neutrality, excess power
can be fed to the central power grid. The rainwater collection system provides
water resources for irrigation and partly for daily cleaning use.
exhibitions, both echoing environmental concern, will be concurrently staged in
the Action Center. The inaugural exhibition Common Understanding · Common
Consensus · Collective Action staged at "The Planet Room",
presents the catastrophic imprint on the earth caused by wind disasters,
flooding, water pollution, forest fires, and human behaviors through a variety
of installations and exhibits, allowing visitors to experience and reflect on
the symbiotic relationship between human beings and Earth, thereby awakening
them to induce individual habitual changes so that they can take action
for environmental cause. Carbon Reveries designed by the
artist Chris CHEUNG (h0nh1m) is an interactive ink art installation recording
the astonishing annual increase of carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere
through the data analysis of climate changes in the past 63 years.
Eco Co-Creation Space"
presents a themed exhibition A Breeze from the Woods implementing
the principles of the Action Center. In the exhibition the woodwork artist Che
LAM delivers the concept of ocean conservation through 108 hand-made wooden
sharks of various sizes. Other works include wooden stools and wooden radios
illustrate endless possibilities of wood remodeling.
visit-worthy spaces in the Action Center include "Da Ai Technology Room"
displaying the achievements of using technology in recycled materials; "Ethical
Eating Room", providing a glimpse of vegetarian dining culture and offering
vegetarian cooking classes; and "Jing Si Humanistic Culture Room" promoting
kindness and love to purify soul. The Action Center handles recycling and
sorting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so as to encourage volunteers and
visitors to practice environmental protection in person. Yuk Lin CHOW, a
veteran volunteer at Tzu Chi Hong Kong said, "We are very fortunate to have
taken a tougher road by restoring the premises. As opposed to demolition and
reconstruction, not only can the restoration preserve the structure but also
the original intention of the building at the time of construction, that is, to
carry on the original intention of providing education. I hope that the founding
of the Tzu Chi Environmental Action Center will further enhance Tzu Chi's
environmental protection concept of 'Purification at Source and Quality
Classification'. Through exhibitions and other activities, we strive to educate
the public on the benefits of environmental protection and reduce unnecessary
material consumption, thereby enabling the harmonic co-existence between
mankind and Earth's resources."
Environmental Action Center
5 Che Kung Miu Road, Tai Wai
10:00-12:30 and 13:30-17:00 Mondays, Wednesdays
to Sundays (Closed on Tuesdays and Public holidays)
*To avoid overcrowding, visitors are advised
to register on Action Center official website before visiting. Walk-in visits
will be subject to availability.