Crédit Foncier d’Extrême-Orient (C.F.E.O.)
190-220 Prince Edward Road, Mongkok, Kowloon
These apartment houses were designed and constructed by the Belgian-French land investment and architectural construction company Crédit Foncier d’Extrême-Orient (C.F.E.O.), founded in 1907. These constructions were termed “semi-European” by C.F.E.O. architects and are comprised of a row of flats, each of which includes a front living block and rear servants’ quarters. Each living block features an entrance hall, a dining room, a bedroom, and a bathroom, while each servants’ quarters includes a servants’ room, a kitchen, and shared toilets located on the ground floor. Common staircases at the front and one independent servants’ staircase at the rear are shared between two apartments.
An efficient economy of scale and material runs throughout the entire complex and is aesthetically captured by the housing row’s façade, which features several Art Deco motifs, including geometric patterns and a stepped gable that accentuates the building’s streamlined verticality. The exterior was not originally clad in stone, as in typical North American or European housing units at the time, but was finished with Shanghai plaster, suggesting the multitude of professional and material connections that existed between Hong Kong and other places in east and southeastern Asia.
– Prudence Leung Kwok Lau