Architectural Record features Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Architectural Record features Asia Society Hong Kong Center

HONG KONG, June 6, 2013 - Architecture design magazine Architectural Record features an eight-page article on Asia Society Hong Kong Center in its June issue. The article explains how the architects designed the Center, the challenges and process to revamp the site and the architectural layout of the site.

“Immersed in the lush hills of the Admiralty area of Hong Kong Island, the Asia Society's new 65,000-square-foot center occupies more than 3 acres of rainforest that had been the Explosives Magazine Compound for the British Army.”

The article then outlines the historical significance of the site and how Asia Society Hong Kong Center came in to transform the facilities.

"...between 1860 and 1907, the colonial rulers had created two ammunition-storage facilities and a munitions lab at the top of the steep site, with earth berms positioned between them in case of explosions. A fourth building, named GG Block, was constructed in the 1940s on the lower part of the hill for the Royal Military Police. By the 1980s the ammunitions complex had been abandoned, and in 1999 the Hong Kong branch of the Asia Society succeeded in leasing the property from the city—which by then had been transferred from British to Chinese rule." 

Featuring the architects who designed the Center, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien talks about the concept behind the structure and buildings of the site.

"The architects then linked this lower portion of the slope to the three existing structures at the top by creating a two-level concrete bridge, reminiscent of Hong Kong's own elevated walkways. Instead of busy streets, this pedestrian path on Y-shaped supports angles over, around, and through the lush growth to avoid harming fruit bats in the palm trees...The project's cascading-down-the-slope configuration means that its most visible element is actually the pedestrian bridge and the roof terrace of the pavilion. Indeed, the only overall view of the Asia Society center is an aerial one, which a cluster of nearby skyscrapers can provide. As Tsien puts it, “This is a horizontal building in a vertical city.”

A rare treasure of Hong Kong, commented by Alice Mong, executive director of the Center, said "This oasis in the middle of a bustling city offers a feeling of tranquility desperately desired and surprising to find."

June 6, 2013
by Wendy Tang