BÉTHANIE / BÉTHANIE THEATRE
Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
personal references Philip Soden — a selection
Béthanie is a historic building in Pokfulam on Hong Kong island. It was built in 1875 as a sanatorium by the Missions Étrangères de Paris, or French Mission as they are known in Hong Kong. The project involved restoring and converting the main building into the new home of the Academy’s School of Film and Television, and adapting the adjacent historic Dairy Farm cowsheds into a 150-seat auditorium and foyer / exhibition space.
The completed building includes a 210m2 dance / movement studio, 70-seat screening room, recording studio, audio, video and film editing suites, library, computer lab and academic support facilities.
On the heritage side, the chapel is used each weekend for church services and weddings, and the basement, which is accessible to the public, houses a museum of French Mission artifacts and publications, retelling their missionary activities throughout Asia since the 18th Century.
Philip Soden was Project Director for the UNESCO Heritage Award-winning conversion of Béthanie. In the process of restoration, he tracked down the missing stained glass, altar, reredos, statuary and furniture of the neo-gothic chapel which had been distributed far and wide in the 30 years since the French Mission de-commissioned and sold the site.