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The Mills, Greater China

When Hong Kong’s industrial past and creative future meet

The Mills is the largest private revitalisation project in Hong Kong by the textile manufacturer-turned-developer, Nan Fung Group, comprising a business incubator, experiential retail and non-profit cultural institution. Located in the industrial district of Tsuen Wan, The Mills was once a manufacturing hub for Hong Kong’s textile industry, where the first cotton-spinning factory of Nan Fung Textiles was erected in 1954.

Arup provided LEED consultancy and transportation planning services including submissions of hoarding plan, traffic impact assessment, review of traffic design and application of excavation permit, to strengthen connectivity and revitalise the old factories into a creative landmark for cultural industries in Hong Kong.

Project Summary

264,000sq ft space in total

60years oldcotton-spinning factories revitalised

70%of existing structure and internal finishes reused

Reinventing Hong Kong’s industrial legacy

By reinventing three buildings, Mills 4-6 built in the 1960s to 70s, into a single coherent complex, The Mills preserves the textile industry’s heritage and injects vibrancy into the neighbourhood, making use of inexpensive materials, innovative building management services and sustainable building design.

It involved transforming old solid timber doors into bench seats and old window frames into signage. To further reduce the environmental impact, more than 80% of construction waste was recycled in a dedicated material recovery chamber. 70% of the existing structure and internal finishes were also reused and incorporated into the design for heritage preservation, while enhancing its sustainability performance.

The Mills - Solid timber doors were upcycled as benches The Mills - Solid timber doors were upcycled as benches
Solid timber doors were upcycled as benches

With modern-day sustainability in mind

To support ongoing community engagement activities through a variation of open spaces, Arup integrated the complex with new internal lanes exhibiting public art and heritage, as well as with accessible rooftops and greenery revamped from original large, vacant concrete roof.

A 3-storey space was hollowed out to create a large skylight at the heart of The Mills, with a high-performance curtain wall and solar blind used for daylight enhancement and minimising air-conditioning. Efficient lighting automation and solar hot water systems were also deployed. A mobile-based BMS system has been adopted to support real-time monitoring and optimisation by the property manager and its tenants.

The Mills - Original large, vacant concrete roof is now transformed into a rooftop park The Mills - Original large, vacant concrete roof is now transformed into a rooftop park

A well-recognised heritage asset

With our team’s consultancy services, The Mills achieved LEED Gold rating, highlighting our success in the refurbishment of existing buildings and heritage preservation. Extensive on-site trials and fine-tuning were performed to comply with different requirements, enabling us to improve overall structural strength and offer more flexibility in spatial arrangement.

The Mills has also clinched the 2019 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation under the New Design in the Heritage Contexts category. Our sustainability effort was also recognised by Green Building Award 2019 with the Grand Award under Existing Building (Completed Projects – Commercial Building) category.