177-179 Prince Edward Road West, Mongkok, Kowloon
Nos. 177-179 Prince Edward Road West consists of a pair of four-storey, semi-detached European-styled flats built with reinforced concrete sometime between 1930 and 1935. Designed with a certain degree of spatial flexibility and comfort in mind, the buildings provided a better quality living environment than most Chinese tenement houses at the time. In fact, there is evidence to suggest they may have been constructed in response to the growing number of wealthy refugees moving to Hong Kong from mainland China in response to growing political and social unrest.
Each block features a front living block and a rear servants’ quarters. Although each apartment features a clearly defined spatial organization with a fixed layout, there is some spatial interplay at work, both between the interior and exterior and within the internal spaces themselves. A deep verandah is included on each floor, which is accessible through pairs of French doors from the living room. Folding doors can also be found between several rooms. These features were all expected to ensure a certain degree of cross ventilation through the entire apartment, creating a healthful and hygienic environment.
The block features a variety of internal and external Art Deco ornamentation, including its balustrades, fireplace mouldings, door panels, and a centrally positioned stepped gable decorated with a draped curtain motif. Stepped mouldings on the building’s façade also help to emphasize the building’s verticality.