Public Works Department
2 Connaught Place, Central
Amidst the bustling streets of Central at the foot of the towering skyscrapers and colonial structures stands the Central General Post Office (GPO). It is a text-book example of modernist architecture ethos “form follows function” documenting an era of the city. The post office building is strategically located by the former waterfront of the Victoria Harbour, built in 1976. It replaced its preceding, Victorian-style GPO building in order to increase the efficiency of the Hong Kong mailing system to fulfill its growing postal needs. It was designed by local architect K.M. Tseng, who worked for the Architectural Services Department and was in charge of designing multiple government buildings around Hong Kong, including the Queensway Government Offices.
Solely viewing the building from the outside, it is easy to visually recognize which portions of the building are used for different purposes due to the different sizes and alignments of the windows that form distinct patterns. For example, the floors dedicated to machine equipment are windowless while the floors for office buildings involving human personnel have small rectangular windows. On the other hand, the basement of the building was initially built as a sheltered berth for mail ships.
Once inside the building, one may notice the tiny holes on both sides of the floors. These tiny holes are installed as a part of the now-defunct central vacuum system. These holes would collect the dust and dirt particles in the building and then transfer them through the tubes installed within the walls. It was the first central vacuum system in Hong Kong, but nowadays, this design is rarely incorporated in public buildings in Hong Kong.
For news on the Central Post Office as Heritage in Danger, visit: https://www.docomomo.hk/demolition-threat-hong-kongs-general-post-office/