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John and Mary Building

Built in 1952, not graded.

The new block of Old Kei Yan Primary School campus (OKYPSC). 


Historical Interest

In 1932 Ronald Owen Hall (aka R.O.H.) was appointed as the Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong. R.O.H. participated in the coordination and design of the religious, educational, social welfare, and residential complex of Bishop’s Hill.


The building of John and Mary Building used to be part of the old Kei Yan Primary which
accommodated primary one to four classrooms. The building was designed by S. K. Loong (龍韶基) Architect, and the drawings were approved on the 31st of Aug 1952 by Building Authority.

S. K. Loong was ordained in 1941. Loong had been sent to work in Calcutta during World War II.
After returning to Hong Kong, he helped the architect who designed Central Hospital and supervised the construction work. Soon he became involved with the building of churches in the diocese. Loong was most proud of Kei Oi Church which had a novel design at that time for Hong Kong. The faithful Loong became R.O.H.'s secretary, and chaplain and registrar of the diocese in 1949, and remained in these positions until R.O.H.'s retirement. Loong was the only Chinese and one of the right-hand men of R.O.H..

Architectural Merit

Architecturally, the buildings are of some merits as they are good examples of post-war modern architecture commonly found in the 1950s. The building block provided twelve classrooms over five floors with a covered and uncovered playground. The covered playground (陰雨操場), washroom, and a small shop are located on the ground floor and the uncovered playground on the rooftop.

On the exterior, the linear block exhibits all the typical features of Modernist architecture, namely crisp painted walls, flat roofs, bands of metal-framed windows, and a long horizontal corridor at each floor level. It has been said that the building was one of the good examples of the functionalistic and pragmatic approach for designing school buildings at that time.

Twenty-five unique geometry symbols crafted on the ventilation staircase grille may have an association with the alchemy symbolism. The connection between alchemy and Christianity eschatology appears to have been particularly powerful: alchemy not only confirmed biblical and other prophecies about the operations of nature and the unfolding of earthly time, but also offered true Christians tools with which to engage the imminent Last Days, either by withstanding the tribulations of the End Times or by restoring the world in its final moments. Even Martin Luther appreciated the way in which alchemical work could, in a sense, ratify prophecies about the fate of the world.

Social Value & Local Interest

With a history of more than 68 years, John and Mary Building has supported the development of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Church) as well as the interaction between Christianity and Hong Kong society. Today, surrounded by commercial and historical buildings, the building stands as testimony to the story of the gospel and the eternally immutable love of God in this blessed land.

Rarity & Authenticity

John and Mary Building has been little altered since it was built, therefore retains its authenticity. It is a rare, excellent local example of post-war modern architecture with definite built heritage value. The other remaining architecture is the Former Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road (Grade 3).

Group Value


John and Mary Building has historical and local interest and also group value being situated alongside Bishop’s House (Grade 1), St. Paul’s Church (Grade 1) and the Old S.K.H. Kei Yan Primary School (originally the south wing of St. Paul’s College, Grade 2). 

John and Mary Building was part of the OKYPSC. The building is attached to the St. Paul Church internal pathway and Ming Hua Theological College with its external staircases on the second and fifth floors. The unique scenery and cultural landscape are the collective memory of the Central and Western District residents, more so of the Kei Yan Primary School graduates.

John and Mary Building is part of the “Conserving Central” initiatives was announced in 2009-10 Policy Address by chief executive Tsang Yam-kuen. The eight sites mentioned in the initiatives include the Central Government Offices Complex, the Central Market, the Central Police Station Compound, the former French Mission Building, Murray Building, the New Central Harborfront, the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Compound (Bishop Hill), and also Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road.

Adaptive Re-Use

The structure and interior of John and Mary Building are in excellent condition. Adaptive re-use of the building is a revival of the original functionality as a school, given its significance to Hong Kong’s community and comprehensive education services in Central District.

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