Chu Pin (Kwan, Chu & Yang Architects)
Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po
Founded in 1926, The Garden Company, the city’s first bakery and confectionery maker, has played a significant role in leading Hong Kong’s food manufacturing industry. It later moved its headquarter to the current location in 1932 because a fire destroyed its preceding factories. In the 1950s, the facility was expanded and redesigned by Chu Pin, the first-generation Chinese architects who studied in the United States. Zhu was the designer behind many of the most forward-thinking pieces of modernist architecture in Mainland China. Garden Factory is one of the few remaining works by Zhu left in the city. Similar to other modernist designs, Garden Factory showcases a clear demonstration of “form follows function”. The five-story factory structure in the front is well-shielded by stripes of red brise-soleil. The windows on the higher floors, on the other hand, remain unshielded to maximize daylight penetration. The clock tower – the tallest structure of the complex – was visible from Sham Shui Po pier when it was built. In 2018, the Town Planning Board approved the company’s HK$2.3 billion (US$295 million) proposal to demolish and redevelop the Garden Factory. The plan will turn the complex into a 25-story commercial building, featuring shops, offices, restaurants and a cooking school despite being listed as a grade 2 historic building. According to a local report, it’s said that the company will be required to preserve “the clock with the piece of red façade and the two ‘bakery chef’ logos into the new building”.