Developer: New World Development Company Limited
* P & T Architects & Engineers Ltd. (Architect, Designer)
* P Landscape Co. Ltd. (Landscape Architect)
* ESKYIU Limited (Interior Designer)
* Sirius Lighting Office (HK) Limited (Lighting Design Consultant)
* Speirs + Major LLP (Lighting Design Consultant)
Location: Hong Kong SAR, China
By Colin Galloway
One side effect of Hong Kong’s high real estate prices is that building owners are usually determined to use every square foot of floor space to generate a financial return. This may be efficient, but it has tended to result in an urban landscape that is monotonously predictable and devoid of public spaces.
What is immediately striking, therefore, about this 22-storey, 45,300 square meter office redevelopment project in Hong Kong Island East is the commitment of developer New World Development (NWD) to set back the building at podium level in order to devote some 50% of its ground-floor level space to pedestrian ccess, including an innovative green-ceilinged passageway that allows the public to walk through the building from one block to the next.
Street-level porosity is just one of the building’s surprises, however. Another way in which NWD has paid more than just lip service to the public realm is its wholesale dedication to sustainability, a commitment reflected in numerous details, from its green financing to an elaborate rooftop garden.
K11 Atelier King’s Road has been awarded a number of green certifications, including (among others) all platinum levels of WELL and LEED. Over 70 different sustainability and wellness features embrace a bucket list of green features that, in the words of one jury member, “go well beyond what any developer in Hong Kong ever builds”.
These include the green ‘floating box’ podium design, highly-specified indoor air and water quality, fitness facilities, healthy dining options, rainwater harvesting, and multiple types of renewable energy generation that include the Asia Pacific’s largest installation of hybrid solar photovoltaic and thermal (PVT) panels.
In addition, K11 ATELIER offers a variety of smart systems, such as a whole-lifecycle building management strategy featuring both BIM and a digital construction documents control system that significantly reduced building construction time.
Beyond that, the developer has made a major effort to establish green spaces in and around the building. Total project greenery covers 6,700 square metres, or more than 2.2 times the site area. It includes, on its lower floors, a distinctive building envelope that breaks down the massing into small-scale cubes wrapped in vegetation. On the rooftop, a microclimate-controlled garden boasting an urban farm, a 170-metre long jogging track, and an over-40 metres stretch of lawn area, covers 90% of the space and is available for use by building tenants.
Inside the building, meanwhile, an innovative multifunctional space located on the second floor and easily accessible from street level offers frequent events and gallery exhibitions. Notably, the space is equipped with large doors that open to the outside, allowing major art installations to be hoisted directly into the building from street level.
As one Hong Kong-based jury member commented: “You have to know how brutal Hong Kong is to understand that somebody actually did the right thing for the first time. I can’t say I’ve ever seen an office building in Hong Kong do so many things to be a better neighbour – and when you look at the cost and rate of return on your investment here, as well as local land values, it’s just a breath of fresh air.”
Although building owners in Hong Kong are usually reluctant to give-up valuable ground floor space to provide pedestrian access to the public, the developer in this case was able to convince the government to grant it expanded gross floor area (GFA) because the building’s open areas were deemed to be partly for public use, thereby improving both the microclimate and the overall neighbourhood. In this way, the project has set a precedent for other local developers to negotiate similar public space exemptions for future projects in the city.