In Hong Kong, where she pursues a master’s degree at the University of Hong Kong, she finds that the Western Food Wholesale Market with a low occupancy rate is ripe for transformation. In her scheme that reconnects the waterfront to the city, the market’s existing structure is retained, and the new market is integrated with a cookery and dining hall to become a new leisure landmark that draws residents, visitors, and new businesses to the precious waterfront. Beyond the waterfront, Hong Kong’s Western district appears to be fragmentary. Using a series of walkways, abandoned air raid tunnels, street extensions, and a community hub as the main conduit, Cynthia’s conceptual design re-establishes the graded axis from the hill to the harbour, fostering foot traffic from one block to another without altering the neighbourhood’s essence.
It is perhaps time for Cynthia to leave Hong Kong again and go to London or Basel, Switzerland. This time, Cynthia wants to work with the best in the fields of heritage preservation and creative adaptation to reconnect buildings with the context and landscape. “Lessons in Europe have important implications for Hong Kong, and I want to offer local solutions to tackle preservation here,” she enthuses about the future of adaptive repurposing.