27.7.15

King Yin Lei 景賢里

July 2015

I learnt about King Yin Lei from the news some years ago.  It is a mansion built in Chinese and Western styles, standing atop Stubbs Road for almost 80 years. In 2007 residents nearby reported destruction of the roof. The public demanded the preservation of this elegant architectural heritage. The government stepped in and offered land exchange to the owner in return for the restoration and ownership of this monument (declared on 11 July 2008).  

The restoration took place between 2008 and 2010.  It was a big challenge as most of the traditional building materials did not exist any more and the building techniques were not known in the modern society.  The restoration project team found a suitable producer of cement floor tiles in Fujian.  Every new cement, the assembly and restoration were done by hand, piece by piece.  The meticulous preservation is much appreciated.

King Yin Lei 景賢里-  Exterior before and after

King Yin Lei 景賢里- Corridor before and after

King Yin Lei 景賢里 Round Hall before and after
King Yin Lei comprises two major sections: the external courtyard made up of an exterior gateway, a rear garden, pavilion and swimming pool.  The inner residence is made up of an interior gateway, a main building, annex block, garage, pet area, subsidiary building and front garden.


King Yin Lei is a seamless merge of Western construction techniques and traditional Chinese decorative details. It is a perfect example of 'the Chinese neoclassical style'. The building has green tiles and red walls. It is not a wooden structure but is constructed from sheer concrete, completed with iron windows, stained glass and mosaic floors imported from overseas.  It has strong Chinese elements, 'heaven' and 'earth', referring to the ridge rooftops and stone balustrades surrounding the building's base.


King Yin Lei is closed normally.  It was announced that it would be opened to the public two days in July and August. Limited tickets were distributed at a few selected museums. I was lucky to get two tickets at the Heritage Museum in Shatin, without queuing. We first proceeded to the Annex Block as the Main Building was full of visitors. The major characteristics are the red windows and the plaster mouldings at the ceiling.  




The window glass was made with a special technique. The glass was cooled with water after the burning, leaving it a non-smooth texture. This kind of glass was used very commonly to separate rooms for renting to various families.  The factory manufacturing this kind of glass was closed years ago.  This technique is not available any more.

Plaster moulding refers to the production of decorative items out of lime. King Yin Lei's plasters moulding have been infused with cement.  This western technique reinforces the building structure. In addition, bamboo sticks have been inserted into the mouldings for strengthening purpose.



Apart from the exquisite and elaborate interior, King Yin Lei enjoys a 180 degree panoramic view over Wanchai and the nearby districts. It's superb and only afforded by the rich and privileged.



The almost two-hour visit at King Yin Lei was very enjoyable.  Hope that the government will open it to the public on a regular basis.  About 400 visitors recorded during our time there.  Some residents love to learn more about the heritage of  Hong Kong.  It's a proof.

Here is a video and report from the nephew of a previous owner.






24.7.15

Monza 2015

20 April 2015

It was a nice day before we flew to Germany.  We visited a nearby city, Monza.  It is a beautiful and elegant town. Smaller than Milan but cleaner, more organised and wealthy as well. It's my third time here. First time was summer back to 2002. The second time in winter 2010, just for a short while.

We arrived around the midday. There were not many people in the town.  Churches were closed. Yup, this is Italy. The tourist information office is very thoughtful.  Right from the railway station, there is a map showing a route to see the town. In the town there are signs in different colours to show the path to different sightseeing spots.



Medieval and nice modern buildings co-exist in the town centre. It is layback.  Take your time, no hurry.  It's my feeling at time.  Shops, elegant and traditional cafes, restaurants, delicatessen, churches, art, historical buildings, solemn government buildings scatter at different corners. Together is a nice composition, in harmony.


There are a handful of sightseeing spots, mainly historical buildings and churches. Each spot is detailed with Italian and English description. Do not take it as granted.  English text is shown sometimes somewhere but not mandatory.

The 13-century tower of Teodolinda is located in via Lambro.  It is between two buildings.  Originally it was part of the defensive wall but evolved as a transit gate from River Lambro to the town centre.









Arengario is at the middle of the town.  It was the town hall in the ancient time.  It served as trading and a meeting point. The upper floor was used for meetings and assemblies.  Nowadays it is used for exhibitions.







One of the sightseeing points is San Gerardo al Corpo. The foundation store was laid in 1836. In 10th century the church was called At. Ambrose but retitled to San Gerardo as it was dedicated to the city's patron.  The porch and bell tower were added in 1863 and 1875.


We still walked around for the other sights and subsequently to the park for hours of walk to enjoy the beauty and nature. Then we returned to the Cathedral to appreciate the superb art.  Every corner is art.  It can be frescoes or any form of decorations, architectural features.


The church is in the form of a basilica.  It was completed in early 7th century. At the end of 17th century, Lombard Queen Theodelinda has commissioned it as a royal chapel to serve the nearby palace. Very important sights are the museum and Theodelinda Chapel.  As it was close to the closing time and the chapel was still under partial restoration, we just looked around the gorgeous art piece. Let our photos escort you through it.









10.7.15

Monza Park

20 April 2015

The park in Monza is enormous!  I did not expect to walk so much prior to the start of the walk.  It's kilometres of green.  Huge trees, flowers, river Lambro, meadows, villas dotted the park and attribute to its beauty.  You will never walk alone there.  Mother and child, grandparents and grandsons, bikers, families, friends in group, dogs always come into your eyesight.  It is very popular among the citizens, their beloved.


Monza Park is mostly known for the Formula 1 Grand Prix race.  But actually the park is more than a racing place. It is about 700 hectares, as the biggest historical park in Europe and the largest walled park.


The scenes are varied and majestic.

 




Big and aged trees are here and there.  It's like big lungs cleansing the air of the city.  You breath in life and happiness.

Meadows, flowers and lake alter the scenes.  The no border scenes open your heart to hope, imagination and possibility.





The nature is accompanied with buildings such as the Royal Villa, farmhouse, restaurant, pavilion, etc.





And, there is art too.  It stays always there. I saw it the first time many years ago and it still remains.