Event Detail


Guided Tour of the Blue House and viewing of Chinese Papercutting Workshop

Nicholas Tsao
Sunday, 28 Jan 2024
12-1:30 pm; 2:15-3:45 pm; 4:15-5:45pm
the Blue House
Due to overwhelming response, both the 12:00 PM and 2:15 PM time slots are now fully booked. However, we are pleased to announce the addition of a new time slot from 4:15 PM to 5:45 PM, available for sign-ups. Secure your spot now!

The Society is delighted to welcome heritage architect Nicholas Tsao to lead a guided tour to the Blue House.  Originally built in 1920, the Blue House in Wanchai is now a superb UNESCO-award winning example of integrated tangible and intangible heritage preservation.

The Blue House is a traditional tenement building in Wanchai.  The original site was that of the first Chinese hospital, 'Wah Tor Hospital', that was built in the 1860s. The Blue House was built in 1922 and is a four-storey building with the elements of the former "Wah Tor Temple" intragrated into its now iconic corner facade. It is currently listed as a grade-I historic building. It is one of the few remaining tenement buildings with cantilevered terraced balconies. 
In addition to being a professional architect, Nick resides in the Blue House.  He will guide you through the architectural features of the building and take you into his own home. Inside, you will exprience the high ceilings, steep timber staircase and elegant floor tiles of this historical residence. 

Nick’s home also doubles as his papercutting studio. You will get a behind-the-scenes look of his design and production process for traditional Chinese New Year decorations. 
Members can get a glimpse of the early co-living culture of Hong Kong through a themed exhibition on the top-floor of an untouched original multi-family tenement, with original floor tiles, and artefacts collected from residents in the building. 
The Blue House was given the Award of Excellence, the highest level, by UNESCO at its Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The building has come to symbolise a relatively rare urban conservation success story in Hong Kong.
Meeting point: Courtyard behind the Blue House, 72 Stone Nullah Lane


  • Guided tour of the building cluster making up the historical complex:  the Blue House, the Yellow House and the Orange house;
  • Exclusive visit to the 3/F Heritage Preservation Unit of the Blue House, with fine 1920s walls and tiles, where original objects from former Blue House occupants are exhibited;
  • Complimentary wines and drinks served at Nick’s home where he designs and produces Chinese traditional papercutting art; New Year decorations on the Blue House facade and courtyard, which were designed and installed by Nick

Bookings: $380 for Members and $480 for Members’ guests, including wine and juice
Please register by clicking the link above. Kindly email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to book more than 4 places. Detailed joining instructions are sent out before the event.
Nicholas Tsao is a practicing architect working for Herzog & de Meuron Hong Kong.  He is a graduate in architecture of the University of Cambridge and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Nicholas was awarded the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Awards in 2015 and 2016.  He currently resides in the historic Blue House, where he can contribute to community events and share his passion for architecture and traditional crafts.
Nicholas has been making traditional papercutting by hand for Chinese New Year for many years. Two years ago, he developed a way to use a machine to gradually replicate his designs, while maintaining the use of authentic traditional paper.  Last year, he launched a series of traditional papercuttings on his online store and debuted at stores at heritage buildings.  All of the papercuttings for Year of the Rabbit are being made in his workshop in the Blue House.

The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.

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