In 2007, Zaha Hadid Architects won a competition to design an Innovation Tower for Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Six years later, students and faculty are beginning to settle into the glacial, 130,000 square foot, 250 foot tall design-education center as it nears completion. The space-age, striated structure will be a “creative multidisciplinary environment,” that, according to the architects, “dissolves the classic typography of a tower and podium to create a seamlessly fluid new structure,” meaning that the Pearl of the Orient will soon welcome a curving, difficult-to-decipher, new educational building. Set to fully open next spring, the tower will be Hadid’s first permanent structure in Hong Kong.
The housing problem in Hong Kong is critical. Studies estimate that the city of seven million will have to house another 600,000 people over the course of the next 30 years. With rapidly increasing urbanization rates, leading Chinese metropolises are speculating on fast and intelligent ways to manage population growth by creating additional housing within their existing borders. While some cities are growing taller and others are mulling developing rare and cherished park space, Hong Kong is taking a different approach. Officials and engineers have thought about something else: developing an extensive underground city.
In architecturally crowded Hong Kong, plazas are a rare breath of open air. The luxurious Causeway Bay district, whose retail rental rates surpassed New York City’s Fifth Avenue in 2012, is home to one of these sparse open spaces, Sunning Plaza. I.M. Pei’s 27-story edifice faces a large public courtyard, a hardscape relief within the densely built area devoted to commercial shops and restaurants.
But, such a luxury is always in threat of expansion. Artinfo reported that developer Hysan will soon be converting the space into additional commercial stores and offices. Pei’s 1982 building is to be demolished by the end of this year and the plaza is going with it.
Next Tuesday, the nearly 850-foot-tall Shenzhen Stock Exchange Building will be inaugurated as the new head of capitalist trading in Hong Kong. OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ architectural firm, was commissioned to design and construct the soaring structure in 2006. After nearly $500 million in expenditures, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal blog, the square-form skyscraper with a surprising floating base, is complete.
Mobile M+: INFLATION!
Tues – Thurs: 12pm to 7pm
Fri – Sun: 11am to 8pm
During Art Basel Hong Kong: May 23 to 26, 10am to 8pm
Venue: West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade
The basic bouncy-house concept has officially been brought to an entirely new level. Turner Prize-winning British artist Jeremy Deller created Sacrilege, an interactive work on which visitors may bounce to their hearts’ content. As a co-commission between the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the Mayor of London, the work is a full-size inflatable replica of the world-famous monument Stonehenge. Sacrilege initially appeared in Glasgow to tour as part of the London 2012 Festival and was unveiled last week at Hong Kong’s Mobile M+: Inflation!.
Rem Koolhaas and OMA may have grander commissions and more famous clients (Miuccia Prada?), but probably not a more devoted and long lasting partnership than with David Maupin of the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. The gallerist first commissioned Koolhaas to design a new exhibition space on Manhattan’s Greene Street in 1995 and again when they moved to 26th Street in Chelsea ten years later (there is non-OMA-designed Lehmann Maupin on the Lower East Side). Now the Lehmann Maupin Gallery has asked OMA to design a third gallery, this time in Hong Kong.
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Digital design meets traditional Chinese craftsmanship in a pavilion constructed like a paper lantern
Hong Kong-based architects Kristof Crolla (LEAD) and Adam Fingrut (Zaha Hadid) married traditional Chinese craftsmanship and digital design technology in their temporary pavilion, Golden Moon, which won the Gold Award in the Mid-Autumn Festival Lantern Wonderland last month. The 60-foot-tall structure was built in just 11 days atop a reflection pool in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, proof that “complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means,” said Crolla and Fingrut, who sought to rethink digital design by “anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality.”
Australian architecture firm Woods Bagot has completed a new tower in Hong Kong inspired by an ice cube. The aptly named Cubus Tower utilizes angular glass shards and a bright lighting scheme at night to help differentiate itself from the city’s dense collection of high-rises.
And you thought your apartment was small. Gary Chang, a Hong Kong architect, has outdone us all, managing to cram 24 “rooms” into his 344-square-foot box apartment through the clever use of movable walls, murphy beds, and other various architectural tricks. As he explains in the Reuters video above, it’s the perfect bachelor pad. “I realized that at one moment, I’m performing only one task, so the ideal thing for me is, I don’t have to move, I’m quite lazy, but the place changes for me,” Chang explains. It’s a far cry from his upbringing in the space, however, when he shared it with his parents, three sisters, and a tenant. Should he ever get a girlfriend, he’ll surely find a way to manage.