Hong Kong's State Theatre. A lone low-rise vestige in a forest of concrete giants.
While I never did get around to writing that post, (until now, that is) I tried my best to impart a few strategic advocacy tactics that I thought might win his cause some support.
His cause, I should mention, is actually Hong Kong's cause. Aside from Haider's deft ability to link The State Theatre with a sustainable future for that great city-state, there's very little direct connection to the building that he and his advocacy team at Walk in Hong Kong have been trying to save. At least no more than the rest of Hong Kong's seven-plus million residents. Therein lies his logic.
While Hong Kong grows richer and more cosmopolitan by the year, its local identity and human scale often gets squeezed out. Countless historic structures and the communities that made use of them have been mowed down to keep up with the ever expanding property market. It's the ultimate Catch 22 facing successful cities in the globalization era. The more desirable a city becomes - the more sophisticated - the more difficult it becomes to maintain those qualities that made it so appealing to begin with. All the more so when the city in question is the the economic masthead of a thriving region.
The parabolic trusses suspending the State Theatre's roof. This unique feature was one of the architectural highlights used to argue the case for why the State needs to be preserved.
On Thursday, December the 8th, the Antiques Advisory Board designated the State Theatre a Grade 1 historic structure, ensuring that any attempts to demolish the building would face steep scrutiny. This marks a major victory in favor of reason, and proof that hard work and strategic advocacy can indeed make preservation the logical choice over business as usual.
Vintage night shot of the State Theatre when it was at the peek of its operation
But the work is not done for Haider and Walk in Hong Kong:
"The Save our State campaign is working on a couple of conservation proposals that will balance the interests of any future developer of the site with the exemplary heritage of The State Theatre. At the same time, we will continue to collect and celebrate people's memories of the theatre. Besides the distinctive architectural style of the urban landmark, the stories of people who have used and enjoyed The State Theatre is what makes the building great"
Bangkok, Thailand, do take note. Your Scala is on the line.