Hong Kong Tower
“Nowhere do buildings stand more dramatically in the topography. Nowhere else in such an extreme density so radically and so expressively transcribed into built architecture. The overwhelming extensiveness of repetitive non-ending structures appears almost surreal. Everything is somehow fantastic and simultaneously so evident.”
Since the 1841 and the British colonial rule, Hong Kong was a city-state and more recently known as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with semi-autonomous status. Hong Kong is located on the south Chinese coast, surrounded by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea. It has a territory of 1,104 km2, with population of 7.15 million estimated by the Hong Kong’s government in 2012. Hong Kong is one of the densest areas in the world. It is well known for impressive skyline and deep natural harbour. On Cantonese or Hakka language, the name “Hong Kong” means “fragrant harbour”. Hong Kong’s topography is impressive as well, and it consists of over 200 islands, steep hills and the sea. The infrastructure in Hong Kong has a linear orientation and compact grid because of the almost unbuildable landscape.
According to Hong Kong’s Department of Statistics in 2008, the population of Hong Kong Island on the area of 20 km2 of developed land was 1.3 million people. Just 25% of Hong Kong Island (80 ha area) is urbanized, where 75% are parks and mountains. Because of the high economic growth, impressive topography and infrastructure, the city of Hong Kong is highly convenient for living, and it attracts business partners and tourists from all over the globe. Hong Kong has a high position on economic powerhouse, and it is recognized as an elite international finance center, one of the major logistic and knowledge centers. It is also well known as a low tax and free trade zone. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is one of the largest in the world. Chep Lak Kok Airport is one of the biggest and busiest cargo airports in the world. The Hong Kong’s port is the third busiest container port in the world, immediately after Singapore and Shanghai. In 2011, Hong Kong’s GDP per capita (US$ 49,800) outstripped that of Switzerland (US$ 43,900). Unfortunately, like in many other neoliberal country policies across the world, there is a huge gap between very rich and very poor people. From 7, 15 million inhabitants in Hong Kong, 1, 3 million is still living in poverty.
The Hong Kong’s architecture was not meant to be purely aesthetic, but rather rational and efficient, a direct answer to specific conditions, like topography, climate, economic and political factors.
Structure must fulfil many demands. It needs to be resistant and elastic, because it is located in an very windy climate. The main part of the structure is a double 12,50m x 25m concrete core. The core is connected with structural steel outrigger truss and composite (concrete covered steel vertical sections) supercolumn system. The system is enclosed with four paired and four diagonal supercolumns along 45-degree axis. Diagonal super- columns are needed because of the long distances between the main supercolumns at the base. Distance between diagonal and main column is approximately 25m. Nine zones, each zone with 12 – 15 floors, are vertically spreaded within the tower. Two-storey mechanical area is based on the top of each tower, with mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment. Mechanical floor is planned as a safety escape area.
The tower has special curtain wall design with two separated curtain wall systems. The inner skin is circular, and exterior skin is cam-shaped with rounded corners similar to a guitar pick. The separation between the two systems create space for atria every 12 – 15 floors. With higher heights, the exterior skin cam-shaped plan is reduced in size and becomes thinner. Also, the cam-shaped plan is slightly twisted around the central part through each higher zone, giving an elegant and spiraling shape of the building.
The main aspect of this Tower is sustainable design development. The water treatment plants are integrated in the tower with the goal of recycling grey water and storm water needed for watering and toilet flushing. Water treatment plants are located within the tower, podium and basement level to decrease pumping energy. The interim water is utilized in storage tanks within the building, and later on used on the principle of gravity. The only energy used for water transport is low-pressure pumping energy, which provides water to each tank based on a cascading effect that results reduction in water consumption.
Cutting and dividing tower into vertically stacked zones reduces the energy required for vertical transportation within the tower, because of the central utility infrastructure and vertical city design concept.