Felix Villas, 61 Mount Davis Road [1922- ]
A terrace of 8 houses built in the 1920s. Here is the description from the list of proposed Grade 3 buildings (See item 647, or its duplicate, 648):
Felix Villas & Garage, No. 61 Mount Davis Road, Hong Kong
Built in 1922, Felix Villas (福利別墅) is named after an Englishman Mr. Felix Alexander Joseph (1890-1949). Felix was an English born exchange and bullion broker. ((Other records say he was born in Hong Kong - see comments below.)) He was a sheer investor who bought land, built on it, leased the premises out and sold them at good price. Felix Villas was just one of his many properties in Hong Kong. In 1949 when he died, his legacies included a number of houses in Chi Wo Street (志和街) and several land lots in Yau Ma Tei.
The architect of the Villas was Messrs. Abdoolrahim and Cooperation.
At that time, the Government imposed many restrictions on the development projects around Mount Davis. According to the Crown Lease issued at the time, any construction projects on these land lots had two main requirements: (1) They should be built in Western Style, and (2) They should not exceed the height limit of 35 feet.
Originally there were two blocks with a total of 18 semi-detached houses on opposite sides of Mount Davis Road. The 10-house upper block was demolished in 1995. The lower block, situated between Victoria Road and Mount Davis Road, comprises 8 houses. As part of the development, a two-storey garage was built in 1924 at the west end of the lower block providing covered parking spaces and presumably chauffeurs’ quarters above them. Since 1957, Felix Villas have served as staff quarters for the University of Hong Kong.
Felix Villas is a work of Classical Revival architecture with Neo-Georgian and Regency influences. The front façade has a classical palazzo or palace appearance featuring a piano nobile floor served by balustraded double-entry staircases, colunnaded and balustraded open balconies or verandahs, and a balustraded and pedimented parapet. The building is three stories high, the two upper floors set on a basement. The walls are stuccoed and painted. The roof is flat with projecting chimney stacks. The 8 houses are arranged in pairs with adjacent entrance doors. Ornamentation is sparse and stylised featuring swags, festoons, tassels, scrolls, keystones and moulded string courses and cornices. The rear and side elevations are plainer but in the same architectural style. The rear elevation is more Neo-Georgian in composition with regularly spaced windows and projecting rear annexes. The end elevations have interesting cantilevered semi-circular bay windows possibly derived from Regency architecture. A balustrade of pseudo-classical design with classical style lamp-posts forms a parapet to the forecourt or terrace in front of the building.
The garage is a rectangular block built to a simple Neo-Classical design with plain rendered and painted walls and a flat roof. Ornamentation is confined to projecting hood mouldings over the garage openings and a moulded projecting eaves at roof level. Windows are regularly spaced and divided into small glazing squares with concrete cills. The garage openings are fitted with metal gates constructed of tubular steel framing and chain link netting. There is a rainwater downpipe at the southeast corner. At the west end of the garage block there is a raised planter containing flowering trees and shrubs with a coursed granite retaining wall.
Rarity, Built Heritage Value & Authenticity
This particular style of architecture is rare in Hong Kong and Felix Villas should be regarded as having considerable built heritage value. Apart from some modern window replacements, the building appears to retain much of its original authentic appearance.
It is rare to find a detached purpose-built garage block with chauffeurs’ accommodation from this early period of the motor car (Another one can be found is called “Gladdon” at No. 3 May Road on the Peak). As far as can be seen the building retains its original appearance and has not been altered.
Social Value & Local Interest
Felix Villas is probably one of the earliest luxury residential developments in the Mount Davis area. Many other similar developments followed so that Felix Villas was a precursor in this area.
Besides the Mount Davis Forts (摩星嶺炮台, not yet graded), no other historic building exists in the surroundings.
The best use for Felix Villas is residential for which it was built.
Felix Villas is not yet graded.
Solomon Bard also mentions it when describing his time on Mount Davis during the the battle of Hong Kong:
On the 14th, an armour-piercing shell, fired possibly from a cruiser, penetrated our protected 'sanctuary' in the Battery Plotting complex, and fortunately failed to explode, so that some 60 of us sheltering inside escaped from being blown up; we evacuated the complex, since it was no longer safe. Battery Headquarters was transferred to Mount Davis Road, into the basement of Felix Villas.