New Thinking For Hong Kong’s Future High-rise Buildings

14 June 2016

Benoy is pleased to announce its new exhibition in Hong Kong, ‘Sky Spaces’, which showcases the work of its designers exploring the concept of humanising Hong Kong’s high-rises.

This year, Benoy challenged the architectural minds of its global design team to adopt Singapore’s planning regulations which promote landscape replacement to create new models for green, high-rise, mixed-use buildings in Hong Kong. The competition is part of the 2nd Annual Peter McCaffery Fellowship; an internal design competition hosted in memory of Benoy’s Global Director.

Vertical cities have become a reality of the modern world as populations grow and land becomes increasingly scarcer. The ongoing challenge for architects and designers is how to advance their thinking on urban intervention to help shape the high-rise cities of the future. Simon Bee, Managing Director of Global Design at Benoy commented “As our cities get taller and denser, how we humanise these vertical structures and inject great spaces not only on the ground but also at higher levels becomes ever more important.”

The setting for Benoy’s competition this year is a live site currently being developed by Swire Properties in the new regeneration district of Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Swire Properties kindly offered the site to Benoy as the basis for the Fellowship’s fictional competition studies, and supported the initiative during the briefing and judging processes.

Entrants were tasked with designing an inspirational contribution for Hong Kong’s new CBD. The new high-rise building could reach to a maximum of 175m above street frontage, pushing up the density and encouraging integrated, high-level, civic spaces and an imaginative mix of uses around a core workplace element.

While the competition called for new ideas to explore the future of adaptable and flexible high-rise typologies in Hong Kong, ‘realism’ and ‘delivery in principle’ was also called for in the brief. The building needed to provide a critical mass of commercially successful and future-proof office space as well as assess height, massing, programme mix, functionality and public realm.

The twist for Benoy’s Fellowship entrants was to embrace the planning principles which have been successful in Singapore to bring forth new thinking for Hong Kong’s future tall buildings. The rules essentially promote two very important ideas; landscape replacement and GFA exemption for green civic spaces.

Overall, there were 42 entries from 65 entrants, from across Benoy’s global studios in cities as diverse as Abu Dhabi, London, Singapore and of course, Hong Kong. What they showed were that highly imaginative, public realm and landscape enhanced, vertical structures are possible under flexible planning codes such as those in Singapore. With this in mind, Benoy aims to encourage discussion on the planning agenda which currently shapes Hong Kong’s cityscape.

“Hong Kong has the potential to be Asia’s ‘Garden City on the Sea’, and with  enlightened planning codes and an evolution of the planning agenda, we would surely be able to exploit the potential combination of place, mix, buildings and landscape at every level of the city infrastructure,” added Simon.

The ‘Sky Spaces’ exhibition will be held on 15 and 16 June 2016 at the Fringe Club’s Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery in Central, Hong Kong.

Following this, the exhibition will move to ‘The Link Bridge’ at Lincoln House in Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong from 20 June to 1 July 2016.

Click here to read more about the winning designs.

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