36-storey glass skyscraper for world’s most expensive site

by Ofentse Sefolo
36-storey glass skyscraper for world’s most expensive site

The world’s most expensive site, previously a multi-storey car park, sold to developer Henderson Land for HK$23,3 billion ($3 billion) has finally revealed the design plans for the world’s most expensive site sold to date.

UK architecture studio, Zaha Hadid Architects, has unveiled its design for a sinuous, glass 36-storey skyscraper, which will be built in Hong Kong at 2 Murray Road. It will be in Hong Kong’s central business district alongside the Bank of China Tower, designed by IM Pei, and in close proximity to the HSBC building by Foster + Partners.

Located in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district, the 36-storey Murray Road project, which was designed by United Kingdom (UK) architecture studio Zaha Hadid Architects, replaces a multi-storey car park to create an urban oasis. It is adjacent to Chater Garden, within a short walking distance to both Central and Admiralty MTR metro stations.

With its base elevated above the ground to shelter courtyards and gardens cultivated with trees and plants in the centre of one of the world’s busiest cities, the design creates new civic plazas that are enveloped by nature.

The design reinterprets the structural forms and layering of a Bauhinia bud about to blossom. Known as the Hong Kong orchid tree, the Bauhinia cross Blakeana was first propagated in the city’s botanic gardens above the Murray Road site and its flowering bud features on Hong Kong’s flag.

At the core of the city’s financial district, the project is situated at the east-west/north-south junction of Hong Kong’s network of elevated pedestrian walkways. It is connecting directly with surrounding gardens, shops and restaurants as well as the offices of leading financial and civic institutions.

A high-tensile steel structure provides a very wide span (up to 26m) of naturally lit, column-free, Grade A office space, with a 5m floor-to-floor height giving maximum flexibility. Its vertical core is located on the eastern side of the building to optimise views of Chater Garden and the city’s renowned skyline to the west.

Echoing the organic forms of the natural world, the redevelopment connects with the adjacent public gardens and parks. These tranquil outdoor areas flow into the generous communal spaces of the interior, with the craftsmanship and precision of the curved glass facade enhancing this seamless connectivity between the building’s interiors and the surrounding gardens and city beyond.

The building’s smart management system creates a contactless pathway for all occupants from the street to their workstations, which eliminates direct contact with communal surfaces and includes artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted lift controls. Using a mobile phone, contactless smart card or biometric recognition, occupants can enter the building and pass security, take lifts to their office floor and access other zones such as lounge areas and washrooms.

Render by PixelFlakes

Arranged for access on multiple levels, the large double-height foyer at the ground level welcomes staff and visitors with its interplay of natural light, planting and organic forms leading up to the second floor public lobby on the city’s elevated walkway network. Suspended above the canopy of its surrounding tress, the sculptural glass facade of this expansive lobby defines a variety of nested spaces, each refined for its purpose and experience.

Dine on top of the world
Located on the refuge floor, the Sky Garden is an outdoor recreational space with a running track and an aquaponics planting network that acts as an effective biological air-purifying filter by consuming contaminants.

The banqueting hall at the top of the tower offers panoramic views of the city’s surrounding skyline. Hosting a variety of public and corporate events, its glazed roof and facade will ensure that this space becomes one of the city’s most memorable venues.

Designed to withstand the region’s powerful summer typhoons, the facade is comprised of four-ply, double-laminated, double-curved insulated glass units – the first of its kind in Hong Kong – to effectively insulate the building and reduce its cooling load as well as build resilience.

Weather stations at its base
Hybrid ventilation is controlled by the building’s automated management system and enables all office levels to be naturally ventilated. This natural ventilation can be supplemented when required, with mechanical dehumidification and filtration to further enhance the indoor environment and air quality.

Render by MIR

Two weather stations installed at the street level and roof level will monitor real-time outdoor conditions including PM10, PM2.5, ozone, daylight (solar irradiation), wind speed (m/s), rainfall (mm), temperature (oC), humidity (%) and noise (dB). These weather stations will inform occupants about the outdoor air quality and are connected to the building’s automated management system to adjust the tower’s hybrid ventilation as required, ensuring the optimum supply of high-quality outdoor air.

A 26% reduction in electricity demand will be achieved with the use of smart chiller plant optimisation, high-efficiency HVAC equipment and daylight sensors that reduce artificial lighting during periods of sufficient natural light.

Click here to view an inspirational video of the skyscraper

We extend our thanks and appreciation to Zaha Hadid Architects for the use of the information contained in this article.

Main image: Render by Arqui9

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