The Most Beautiful School Campuses in Hong Kong
1/10 Carmel School
Carmel School Association is spread across three campuses on Hong Kong Island. Its elementary school campus on Borrett Road consists of a three-storey Edwardian, neo-classical red brick building. Featuring long arched and colonnaded verandahs, walls with granite bands and pedimented entrance doorways, it is a relic of old Hong Kong.
The building used to be the old British Military Hospital for the British garrison, which officially opened in 1907. During the Japanese Occupation, it was requisitioned by the Japanese army as a hospital. Part of the building was used for sick British prisoners-of-war, and after the war, the hospital was used by the British Garrison until the opening of a new British military hospital in King’s Park in 1967. Now the Grade-II historic building has become the pre-school and elementary campus for the Jewish community.
10 Borrett Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
2/10 King’s College
Before it became the Neo-classical red-brick landmark found on Bonham Road today, King’s College used to be Saiyingpun School, which was established by the British government on Third Street in 1879. As more students enrolled, the school relocated to a larger premises on Pokfulam Road in 1891, and later to its current site, when the construction was completed in 1926. The same year, it was renamed as King’s College.
King’s College was described as “one of the finest and most modern of school buildings” in the Hong Kong Administrative Report of 1926. It was so well-equipped, that it was requisitioned by the Military Authorities as the quarters and hospital for the British Shanghai Defence Force in 1927. In 1941 when the Pacific War broke out, King’s College––which was installed with St. John Ambulance equipment––was used as a first aid station. During the Japanese Occupation, the school was used as a military mule and horse stable for the Japanese Army. It is now one of the six surviving pre-war government school buildings in Hong Kong.
The campus is known for its the Italian Renaissance style side openings of the entrance porch, the red-brick Roman arched colonnades along South Wing’s façade and corridor on the ground floor, coupled columns form loggias on the first and second floors, the dainty garden at the lower ground level with a fountain as well as an arched colonnaded curvilinear side wall.
63A, Bonham Road, Hong Kong
3/10 St Stephen Girls’ College
Established in 1906 under the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Church), St. Stephen’s Girls’ College was one of the earliest schools to devote itself to girls’ education in Hong Kong. Its alumni include some of the first female graduates of The University of Hong Kong.
Originally located at 27 Caine Road, it relocated to its present location in 1923, which was officially opened by Lady Stubbs, wife of the then Governor, Sir Reginald Stubbs, a year later. Its main building was listed as a declared monument in 1992. The four-storey structure consists of four wings that surround a school hall. Chinese pan-and-roll tiles were installed to cover its roof which rests on a timber truss system. The Classical design and layout of this building resemble a traditional Chinese courtyard house, which are quite characteristic of the east-west architectural designs in Hong Kong back then.
2 Lyttelton Road, Hong Kong
4/10 St Stephen’s College
This co-educational secondary school is one of the few boarding schools and the largest secondary school in Hong Kong, spanning an area of about 150,000 metre squares. Founded by the Reverend Bishop Banister of the Anglican Church and prominent Chinese Sir Ho Kai and Dr Tso Seen-wan, who wanted to improve the educational level of Chinese people, the present campus was constructed in 1928.
The School House was the first completed building. This H-shaped building, made up of an east wing, a west wing and a central block, is designed in the late transitional Arts and Crafts style which is marked by a Modernist influence. Arched windows and doorways, arcaded verandahs and western architectural elements, are combined with Chinese roofs to suit the subtropical climate of Hong Kong. It is the oldest surviving school building still providing boarding facilities in Hong Kong, and also one of the very few remaining structures used as part of the Stanley Internment Camp during the Japanese Occupation, during when the Japanese soldiers stormed into the building and killed 56 British and Canadian soldiers who were still wounded in their beds on Christmas Eve in 1941.
Many of the school annexes are now grade II or III historic buildings with beautiful designs that testify the change of time and styles. Public access to No. 3 Bungalow is allowed in the morning of selected Saturdays once a month with prior appointment.
22 Tung Tau Wan Road, Stanley, Hong Kong
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5/10 Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section)
The Roman Catholic girls’ school was founded on Austin Road in 1925 as a kindergarten by the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic. In 1931, the developing district of Kowloon Tong was considered an ideal place for a convent school, and the construction of a new campus to cater for college entrance on Waterloo Road started in 1933. The main building was completed in 1937 in the style of a medieval monastery or college with an open peristyle courtyard surrounded by cloisters.
There are notable features including a tower, a granite staircase, the auditorium’s Romanesque-styled vaulted ceiling, pointed arches, hipped or gambrel-shaped roofs. The rest of the free neo-Tudor style school complex drew reference from Art Deco, Romanesque, Neo-Georgian and Gothic Revival architectural styles. During WWII, it was used as a Japanese military hospital. There have not been many major alternations made to this reddish fort-like campus as of today, except for some nice gardening.
5 Ho Tung Road, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
6/10 Diocesan Boys’ School
Founded in 1869, the Christian principle-based school is one of the oldest and most prestigious secondary schools in the city. The main campus was constructed in 1926. As the third largest school in Hong Kong, it is also known for its long staircase––known as The Steps––that lead from Prince Edward Road West to the northern entrance of the school since the 1920s. George Samuel Zimmern, the headmaster in the late 1950s, built a footpath called Rev. George She Path next to The Drive, which is a long, winding road leading up the hill from Argyle Street to the southern entrance of the school.
Apart from the main building that incorporated both British architectural features (a green lawn and roundabout typically located at the front porch of British villas) and Chinese courtyard layouts, the campus was once known for its greenery that separated it from the bustling neighbourhood of Mongkok, until much of it was cleared for expanding the campus in the 2000s.
131 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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7/10 Harrow International School Hong Kong
Harrow International School Hong Kong opened in September 2012 and is the first British boarding school in Hong Kong. The school is a branch of the historic Harrow School in the UK, which was founded back in 1572, and which has been home to royalty, poets and world leaders including King Hussein of Jordan, Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Byron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Laurence Fox and singer-songwriter James Blunt. In 1998, Harrow Bangkok was the first Harrow School in Asia, followed by another in Beijing in 2005, and Shanghai in 2016.
The Hong Kong campus is built on the site of a former army barracks in So Kwun Wat. The 9-acre site in the Gold Coast area features a stunning sea view. Sitting right next to Tai Lam Country park, the campus has close access to the MacLehose trail. At the heart of the majestic crescent-shaped school building is the library and learning lounge. They are situated on two floors connected by an open staircase. The campus also includes a boarding house end which is nine floors high.
38 Tsing Ying Road, Tuen Mun, New Territories, Hong Kong
8/10 Loke Yew Hall
A declared monument since 1984, the Main Building of Loke Yew Hall is the oldest structure in the historic university of Hong Kong, which was founded in 1911. Named after Chinese-born business magnate Wong Loke Yew who funded the early development of the university, the hall hosts major university events and ceremonies. The building has been home to the Faculty of Engineering and Medicine, and later departments within the Faculty of Arts.
Designed by Architect Messrs Leigh and Orange, the building is of the post-renaissance style, epitomised by the red brick and granite and two courtyards. The main elevation is articulated by four turrets with a central clock tower gifted by Sir Paul Chater in 1930. The rooftop of the Hall was rebuilt after it was severely damaged during the World War II. The interior design and most of the classical ornaments inside the Hall, however, have been maintained in the original style. In 2007, it was featured in Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, which won the Golden Lion International Venice Film Festival Award.
The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
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9/10 The Academy of Visual Arts of Hong Kong Baptist University
Perhaps lesser known as an institution’s campus is this Kai Tak Campus hidden behind Ping Shek Playground. What was once the Royal Air Force Officers’ Mess is now a Grade I historical building, still retaining its unique early 20th-century colonial architectural style. It is a clean design with white pillars, a lime green roof, a lawn in the middle and a flight of stone staircase that leads visitors to the entrance.
Separated from the main campus of Hong Kong Baptist University in Kowloon Tong, this Kai Tak Campus houses the Academy of Visual Arts, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Apart from offering a quiet environment for art students to practise, it also hosts the annual AVA Grad Show and Tuna Prize.
51 Kwun Tong Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
See also: The Best Architecture of the Decade in Hong Kong
10/10 School of Design, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
This modern looking building, that stands out from the rest of the brown red campus of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with its sleek windows and towering structure is the Jockey Club Innovation Tower. Located in the northern part of the university, it is home to the School of Design with multi-functional spaces: a lecture hall, 10 classrooms, design studios, workshops, exhibition spaces and a communal viewing lounge.
The genius who created 15,000 square metres of net floor area out of this building is none other than British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid––the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. As revealed on PolyU’s website, Hadid explained her design, “The fluid character of the Innovation Tower is generated through an intrinsic composition of its landscape, floor plates and louvers that dissolves the classic typology of the tower and the podium into an iconic seamless piece. These fluid internal and external courtyards create new public spaces of an intimate scale which complement the large open exhibition forums and outdoor recreational facilities to promote a diversity of civic spaces.”
11 Yuk Choi Road, Hung Hom
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