Improvement works at Tai O

Gravity Green: Tai O is an old fishing village rich in heritage, and once home of salt industries. It is now developed as a rural fishing village, a popular tourist attraction with traditional residential and commercial streets. Tai O lies on a low lying coastal area on the western side of Lantau Island, the major priority was to resolve the flooding problems occasionally experienced in Tai O. The improvement works of Tai O (phase 1) aimed to preserve cultural heritage and natural attributes of Tai O, which included the construction of Riverwall at Yat Chung, upgrading the temple garden in front of Kwan Tai Temple and improvement works to the signage within the inner-core area.

Design & Construction Constraints

– The Riverwall area is surrounded by local residents and stilts, that the view and impacts were considered during design and construction stages
– The land accesses to the Riverwall area are narrow, so the landscape area behind Riverwall is open, but with limited accesses
– The stability of works on existing revetment is reviewed against the anticipated working load
– Maintenance access should be retained to maintain the O&M of the pumping station

The Work

The Riverwall, up to +3.3mPD, is evolved with consideration given to the existing condition of the creek fronting Wing On Street. Consideration has also been given to the public view preference of a more lively curved alignment. In addition, the project involved a flood panel system up to +3.8mPD, with variety lengths of flood barrier and floodgates on Riverwall, to protect the village. Storages for the large number of demountable barriers are designed into the adjacent planters and seats to avoid a storage block on the landscape.

While the Riverwall area is a public space backed by local residents and stilts, in respect to the concerns of the local community, the landscape work is not to transform the promenade as an attraction and to retain the privacy for the neighborhood. Thus the main target of landscape design is to soften the hard works of Riverwall and the associated drainage and sewerage improvement works, that to enhance the identity of Tai O, and to improve the environmental condition of the riversides.

Besides the imminent needs of the local community, the upgrading of the Kwan Tai Temple front garden is to improve local amenities, with sensitivity for accepting intervention, to create a flexible and spacious venue for daily use and Tai O traditional events. The scale of all landscape elements, include pavilion, paving, lighting etc, are carefully considered to minimize the intervention to the surrounding and community.

The improvement works are to resolve Tai O existing problems technically and to carry out a truly people-oriented design. Based on the fundamental tradition, it is to create a harmonious enhancement of Tai O, and a balance between revitalization and conservation. It also demonstrates the success of a problem solving landscape.

Landscape Architecture: Gravity Green
Project Title: Improvement works at Tai O
Project Location: Tai O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Start / Completion: 12/2009 to 06/2014
Client / Owner: The Government of the HKSAR – Civil Engineering & Development Department
Other Team Members: Mannings (Asia) Consultants Ltd.
Gravity Green Limited owns the copyright to the project, images and text.

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