Perched at the foot of Hong Kong’s Lion Rock for about half a century, Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK’s Educational Television Centre (ETV Centre) will soon be demolished following its sale to private developers.
Built in 1971 by famed architect Eric Cumine, the studio produced programmes for the city’s now-defunct ETV channel. The channel kept generations of school children occupied on weekday afternoons, leaving them with fond memories of the beloved shows, child actors and songs.
While many children who grew up with ETV are now having children themselves, the classic channel aired its final episodes last June, and the building was vacated in September ahead of its reincarnation.
The ETV Centre used to neighbour the offices of Hong Kong television channels TVB and Rediffusion — which later became ATV. But the building is now sandwiched between two luxury real estate properties, according to a Facebook post written by the Urban Studies Institute last week.
“Similar to a lot of modern Hong Kong architecture, [the ETV Centre] was not assessed for its heritage value because its history does not date back long enough,” the institute’s post read. “And because research on local architectural history remains scant, the unique value for some symbolically significant architecture [projects] is only discovered when they are about to be demolished and redeveloped. But mostly, it is too late.”
“But even if they were discovered earlier, in Hong Kong a place where only economic efficiency can triumph, conservation always gives way to development – even though they are not mutually exclusive,” the institute wrote.
And so, the ETV Centre will soon join the fate of its neighbours: the government is now seeking a buyer for the 2,217 square-meter lot at 79 Broadcast Drive to replace the two-storey facility with an 80-unit residence. Tendering is set to open on Friday and end by October 22, local media Stand News reported.
Before it disappears, photographers behind the Facebook page Hong Kong Reminiscence took a look inside the studio that shaped the collective memories of a generation of Hongkongers.