HISTORY – How Hong Kong Was Made: Iconic Buildings Under Construction

Completed in 1972, Jardine House was the tallest in Asia, built on reclaimed land under the agreement that no other building would obstruct its views. With 52 floors, it was constructed with a metal frame and a curtain wall and round windows – a design which earned it the nickname “House of a Thousand Arseholes.”…

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via Sing Tao

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via ‘AC Studio’ on Flickr

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via Ewald Vögele

Below is the Bank of China Tower under construction in the 90s… Click here to view the original Bank of China building being built in the 50s.

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via ‘shuibien_chen’ on Flickr

With a belated opening in 1990, the (currently) fourth tallest skyscraper in HK was constructed on a site sold by the government for “only HK$1 billion” in 1982. It was the tallest building in Asia for two years and a small, little-known observation deck on the 43rd floor is open to the public. Its sharp edges and ‘X’ shapes are controversial amongst followers of Feng Shui, as are its two antennas, which remind locals of funeral incense.

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Massing model showing the shape of the Bank of China Tower. The labels correspond to the number of ‘X’ shapes on each outward facing side. Via Wikicommons.

Standard Chartered Bank Building under construction in 1988…

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via ‘shuibien_chen’ on Flickr

Somewhat unloved in the great shadow of neighbouring HSBC, this tower rises 42 floors and 185 metres in height. The building was completed in 1990 after the bank won a lease on the land from the government (a lease good until 2854 (999 years)!)…

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via ‘shuibien_chen’ on Flickr

Completed in 1985, this fourth generation ‘HSBC Main Building’ was the most expensive building in the world at the time. The project cost roughly HK$5.2 billion and features no internal supporting structure…

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via HSBC/Foster & Partners

It uses natural sunlight as a major source of lighting, with giant mirrors reflecting light into the atrium down into the plaza. Sea water is used as air-con coolant and external façades are used to block direct sunlight and reduce heat gain.

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via HSBC/Foster & Partners

Power, telecommunication and air-con systems lie under lightweight movable flooring panels for easy adjustment. The building has good Feng Shui, as it has an unblocked view of the harbour.

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via HSBC/Foster & Partners

Hong Kong’s ‘occupy’ movement claimed the ‘privately managed public area’ under the building as a camp site for several months. They were evicted in late 2012.

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via HSBC/Foster & Partners

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via HSBC/Foster & Partners

The IFC2 features 88 storeys and 22 high-ceiling trading floors – both extremely auspicious in Chinese Culture. The larger Two International Finance Centre was completed in 2003, topped out at 415-metres. ‘Tabboo floors’ such as 14 and 24 are omitted. The HK Monetary Authority occupied four floors in 2001 and is also home to double-decker elevators…

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via baisi.net & arup.com

The Hopewell Centre was completed in 1980, surpassing Jardine House as HK’s tallest building at the time. The shot below is from around 1977-78. With a circular layout, it has a revolving restaurant on the 62nd floor with a scenic view of the harbour and city. Occasionally, personal messages are displayed on its neon exterior at night, such as “Will you marry me?”.

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Opened on 14 November 1967, Lion Rock Tunnel is a twin-bored toll road connecting Kowloon to the New Territories. Renovation on the ageing tunnel began in 2008 with around 88,000 vehicles using it every day. The photo below, from 1978, is of the second 1.41km tunnel, which opened in the same year to link up the new town of Sha Tin…

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via HK Public Libraries

The most recent large-scale construction most of us will recall is that of the ICC in Kowloon. Currently the tallest in HK, and home to the world’s highest hotel, it would have been taller but was scaled back due to regulations that prevented buildings from being taller than the surrounding mountains.

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via luxuryproperty.com and boisestate.edu

Construction was completed in phases from 2007 to 2010. Six workers died in 2009 after an elevator shaft accident.

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via veryamateurish on Flickr

And finally, one of HK’s latest unveilings. The mind-bending 76-metre high Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It spent much of its life under construction behind green netting…

Innovation Tower

via ‘aroundtheworldin1000days.com’

The architects say the design “dissolves the classic typology of the tower and the podium into a seamless piece”. It opened last year providing 12,00 square metres of space for 1,500 students.

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Related articles on the blog…

Blog posts charting Hong Kong’s colourful past…

Pictorial histories of local landmarks and events…

Blog posts celebrating and critiquing development in the City of Lights…

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