Béthanie is a historical building complex located in Pok Fu Lam
, in Hong Kong
built in 1875 as a sanatorium by the Paris Foreign Missions Society. It is a Grade II historic building.
Béthanie and the nearby Dairy Farm cowsheds were allocated in 2003 to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
. The complex reopened in 2006 and is now used by the Academy's School of Film and Television. In addition to educational facilities, it includes two performance venues, an exhibition hall, a chapel and a museum.
Béthanie is located at No. 139, Pok Fu Lam Road
, on Hong Kong Island. Situated between the pine trees, with the seaview of the coast, Béthanie's geographical site provided an ideal restorative place for the French priests to recover from tropical diseases at that time.
Béthanie is one of the outstanding European-style historical buildings in Hong Kong. It represents the city's few magnetic examples of French colonial architectures.
Throughout the mid-19th century, the significant penetration of Western culture into Hong Kong led to the emergence of a new culture blend of 'east meets west' which was an influential factor in Hong Kong's architecture. French architecture was seen as a vehicle for cultural interchange and its influence on the formation of this distinctive Hong Kong identity was profound. Some even believe that 'the story of French architecture in Hong Kong was the story of Hong Kong itself'.
Based on neo-gothic design, Béthanie is a stylish composition of symmetrical cylinders. Apart from that, ogive, tracery, stained glass as well as Gothic arched windows can be found in the building.
The efforts in restoration led Béthanie to receive a UNESCO Asia
-Pacific Heritage Award in 2008, for the modernized appearance in the aftermath of the restoration project. The honour is attributed to architect Philip Liao and Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts associate director of operations, Philip Soden.
A city-wide search to recover the original furnishings was carried out to restore the site to its historical appearance. According to Soden, the hardest part of the restoration was to equip the building with air conditioning, fire services and lighting without affecting the overall appearance of the building.