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Shrine of Water 圜丘

Bishop Hill Underground Cistern Museum & Observation Deck

圜丘 主教山地下蓄水池博物館及觀景台

The project is to create a sensation and physical experiences and let people to experience the spirit, beauty of nature and the moving of collective memory about the Bishop Hill Underground Cistern.


Museum is proposed as an adaptive reuse approach for the conservation. A permanent exhibition of the history of the Bishop Hill Underground cistern and the Hong Kong water infrastructure will be held at the newly added part and the existing cistern is preserved with minimal intervention for the temporary exhibitions/ events in future. Two large public open spaces (water plaza on rooftop and open yard) are proposed for the public concerning a huge demand of the leisure spaces from the local.

Building Form

Refer to the existing configuration of the cistern, the building is formed by a simple combination of geometric shapes (one square and two concentric circles). The existing cistern serves as circular core main hall of the building and the outer circle is used to provide the same circular profile for the envelope of the museum and shape the jogging track surrounding the museum. The square in between two circles generates a series of continuous spaces for exhibition use and the segments in between the outer circle and the square used for the building services room, internal water garden courtyard and the waterfall serving the open yard at the back of the building.  Besides, the newly added shear walls, partitions and door doorways are decided based on the extension/ projection of the existing structure grid of the cistern.


In order to differentiate the new and old element, the new structure comprises massive shear wall with smooth granite surface to create a contrast to the rustic finish of the arch structure, but arch opening in same size as the existing is introduced to illustrate the connection to the heritage.

Conservation of the cistern

The cistern would be preserved in situ with minimal intervention like the conceal floor lights, the linear uplights at high level and a small amount of skylights are introduced to strengthen the visual effect of the arch column and ceiling profile in order to retain the authenticity of the heritage.

The skylight with shutters embedded underneath the water pond on the roof floor area introduced at the cistern. Based on the type of the temporary exhibition to held at the main hall (cistern), the shutter could be activated to seal/ open the skylight to introduced sunlight to the main hall (cistern).

A series of newly added water features refer to the heritage of water infrastructure

Three water features such as an internal water garden courtyard, a waterfall at open yard and a water pond   are introduced to create a sensation and a series of physical experiences for people to experience the spirit of the underground cistern structure.


The water garden courtyard and a waterfall are formed as a segment (in-between space) of the circular and square building profile. One provides a solitude space for the visitors to sense the scale of the cistern structure in an alternative way and meditate about the value of the heritage, and another one provides a nice leisure environment for the large public open space.

The shadow pond in a concentric circle of the cistern is placed on the rooftop level of the museum. It serves as the last spot of the museum and is adjacent to the exit of it. The water pond also creates a symbolic connection between the cistern and the sky as it served a collection container of the rain water as a part of water infrastructure.


Museum & Observation Deck


Conceptual Design 



Design Team:                           

Kenneth Wong/

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