Headquarters of Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (1979)

The Fate of the Invaluable "Imported Building". The construction cost of the old Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters was no less tremendous than that of the new one. The old headquarters was built in 1934 and demolished at the age of 47 in 1981. The construction materials of this bank which was supposed to be the most advanced, between Cairo and San Francisco, apart from a small quantity of granite rocks and tiles, were mainly imported, including the pair of bronze lions at the main entrance which were from Shanghai. Designed by an English architect, the old headquarters was the first building in Hong Kong which employed British stainless steel scaffolding rather than the traditional Chinese bamboo type. The imported construction materials included marble from Italy, hollow bricks for the lobby floor produced by a British machine, and the reinforcing bars which were of high-quality chromadon steel from Canada. The window frames were made of stainless steel or bronze and the window panes were 1/4 inch thick, while the door of the high-security vault weighed 26 tons. The walls of the lobby were of Botticine marble, the columns were of green marble from Sweden, and all the stair handrails, and lighting lamps were of bronze. The ceiling mural in the lobby, was an Italian glass mosaic, was designed by a well-known Italian designer. The mural depicted generally the developments of transportation, industry and commerce in East and West . In the central upper part of the mosaic there was a carriage crossing the sky, carrying Apollo and the God of Fortune, whereas the two ends showed banking developments in East and West. The mural was a magnificent work of art with dazzling colours. But, however beautiful, it was divided up into pieces as souvenirs for the people connected with the bank when the building was demolished.

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