It became a bit of a mission to try and document as many as possible before they all disappeared under the developers' wrecking ball, and a fairly good job was done documenting all types by everyone over at Gwulo.com. But it's the columned ones that I find the most intriguing and as such tended to bung up a new post whenever I found one I hadn't seen before. The blog ended up with about 30 separate posts on these buildings.
Anyway, rather than rehash them one by one here, I've instead picked a selection of pictures (probably a quarter of all the buildings I have snapped) taken over the past 6-or-so years. Some buildings have probably gone by now, some have definitely been renovated and some are still as they were.
This building above has been ear-marked for demolition, this is a crying shame for several reasons including the fact that it is in excellent condition and has been well looked after, but also because it is only one of four remaining curved corner shophouses (that I am aware of) left standing in HK. :-(
Wanchai, Lockhart Road
Lui Seng Chun
The controversy of The Pawn however seems to have been avoided at the above renovation of Lui Seng Chun in Sham Shui Po. This is one of the four remaining curved corner buildings I was talking about earlier. It has been taken over by one of the local tertiary institutions as a Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic and shop.
Li Chit Street
Moving on to Mongkok and the row of shophouses that front the Flower Market. Despite the redevelopment of a couple of buildings in the centre, this row of buildings is actually the second largest contiguous block of shophouses in the whole territory (8 or so in one row). This is rare and most buildings exist purely in little clumps of one or two.
The longest block of intact shophouses can be found a little further south into Mongkok along Shanghai Street. Here there are ten (I think?) in a single row and they were going to be renovated by the Govt. I'm not sure if this has been done yet, so if anyone can provide up-to-date info, please feel free to comment. When you consider that many of the streets in Kowloon were absolutely lined with these buildings as recently as the 1980's, it's a big shame that so many have been lost in such a short time.
The blue building in the picture below has its date of construction shown at the top, and it is quite obvious from this (and many more of these buildings) that the builders made up for a lack of height with attention to detail. It seems that in HK, the taller your building is the less impressive it is to see at close range - I guess with many of the skyscrapers in Hong Kong all the effort has been put into making them look impressive from a distance.
King's Road, North Point
These buildings exist in various states from completely dilapidated with trees growing through the roof, to absolutely immaculate and well-maintained. Some have seen one of their pillars removed due to development being done in close proximity below is a picture of perhaps what happens when developers can't be bothered to do a proper demolition job (perhaps the pillar straddles land lots?). All that is left on this one is the pillar and the portion of the front wall that sits above it!