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.
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.