Feature Story - A landmark to realise our vision – The SPCA Jockey Club Centennial Centre

An ample space can accommodate more possibilities. With an area of more than 8,000 square metres, the new SPCA Jockey Club Centennial Centre (the "new centre") will support the education and animal welfare work of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong) ("SPCA"), as well as expanding animals’ living space with its advanced facilities and rooms. It is expected to be completed by the second half of 2022, to realise the broad vision of the SPCA as it steps into its second century.

Challenge that we face

The SPCA has a total of 10 centres located in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and Islands district, including animal welfare centres, desexing centres and adoption centres. As the number of rescued animals has increased, this has put existing SPCA facilities under extreme pressure and, in some cases, reaching our maximum capacity. The completion of the new centre will provide more spaces for animals under our care, and we will be able to rehome at least 1,200 more animals each year.

Educate the next generation

We have always believed that education is a vital part of the promotion of animal welfare, and is also the first step for the public to learn about animal welfare. The SPCA is committed to promoting humane education in schools, including universities and kindergartens. Through talks and workshops, we aim to cultivate students' respect for life and protection of animals, as well as raising awareness of animal welfare overall. We also want to cultivate inclusiveness and harmony between animals and the community through our community outreach. Through the new centre, we hope to double the number of talks and visits we give, increase audience numbers of our community outreach programmes, and provide humane education to an additional 25,000 individuals per year.

Shorten response time to provide more efficient assistance to animals

Additional to expanding the space for animals and supporting educational work, the completion of the new centre will also support our inspectors’ rescue work. Many of the rescue calls received are from the New Territories. With the new centre so close to Route 3 and the Tai Lam Tunnel, our inspectors’ response to rescue calls from the New Territories will be shortened by 15-20 minutes, so they can provide an even more efficient assistance to animals in need.

 

Despite being the longest standing animal welfare organisation in Hong Kong, the SPCA obtains around only 1% of its funding from the government, and 99% of its funding comes from the general public. Building this new and necessary education and animal welfare hub that will help reshape the future of Hong Kong, the SPCA needs support from members of the public. Participation from the public will give us an opportunity to create a better society where animals and humans co-exist in harmony.

We are always encouraged by the success in finding a forever home for animals and seeing the increase of public’s awareness of animal welfare. The completion of The SPCA Jockey Club Centennial Centre will be a major milestone for the SPCA.

 

 

Build a better future for animals – interview with Kyran Sze, MH, Registered Architect

To ensure the various stages of construction of the new centre take place smoothly, they are supervised and monitored by a Project Steering Committee, which is supported by five external professionals with a wealth of experience in architecture, surveying and building services. Kyran Sze is one of the professional members. He is aware that animals, instead of humans, are the major users of the centre. He believes that the new centre is symbolic for the SPCA and will help raise public awareness of animal welfare.

‘I became involved with the project when one of the Executive Committee members of the SPCA asked me if I could recommend an architect to help with the project on a voluntary basis. So I volunteered to take up the challenge myself,’ says Kyran. ‘As animals are not able to speak for themselves, I decided to speak up for them.’

Embracing the challenges ahead

Kyran, who is an expert in architectural design, not only founded one of the world’s most leading property and architectural firms, but also participates in various infrastructure projects and construction projects for NGOs, as well as designing university campuses. However, he believes this project is unique. ‘This is my first time working on a project where the majority of users will be animals. I am proud to be part of the project team that the SPCA has ambitious vision for the future of animals in Hong Kong.’

Construction projects involve many different stakeholders. It is key to gauge the opinions of all parties, ensure every future users’ needs are met and, of course, ensure the design and construction are meeting industry standards. Based on limited resources, Kyran gives advice to the consultants team and the working team to come up with the best solutions. Kyran uses simple examples to illustrate the possibilities and limitations of the project to different stakeholders. ‘There are always challenges in every project. I like taking up these challenges; it gives me a great sense of satisfaction for being part of this special – once in a century – project,’ says Kyran.

Becoming a landmark to raise public awareness

Located in Tsing Yi, the new centre is to be built on a hillside against a natural ‘green backdrop’. The exterior of the new centre is designed to have wooden features in bright tones, together with simple animal patterns on the many walls. He describes the wall of the new centre as ‘combining different elements together in different frames’, which will be a breakthrough in the design of traditional buildings such as animal welfare centres.

Kyran hopes the new centre will become a landmark with longevity. ‘All creatures on this planet have a right to live and share the earth's resources. I believe the building will become a benchmark for animal centres, and I hope it will increase government and public awareness of animal issues.’