office tower to rise in hongkong

Curvilinear Tower To Rise On US$3b HK Site

HONG KONG – A 36-storey office tower inspired by a bauhinia flower bud that’s about to gloriously bloom is poised to be built on one of the costliest sites ever transacted in Hong Kong, reported CNN on Thursday (1 October).

Located at 2 Murray Road in the city’s Central District, the land parcel for the commercial property was acquired in 2017 via a record-breaking price of HK$23.28 billion (US$3 billion) back then.

Last week, Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled the upcoming skyscraper’s design, which shows a striking curvilinear tower with a dizzying height of 623 feet nestled in one of the city’s most vibrant locations.

The architectural firm, which was founded by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid who was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, said the office tower drew inspiration from the structural forms and layers of a flowering bauhinia. Also called as the Hong Kong Orchid, the flower figures prominently on the city’s flag.

Notably, the skyscraper’s first level features a series of lush gardens and courtyards that is described as an “urban oasis.” Not to be outdone, there’s a Sky Garden on the refuge floor with an outdoor recreational area and an aquaponics farm. The dining hall on the office tower’s crown also offers breath-taking views over Chater Garden and Hong Kong’s majestic skyline to the west.

Located next to Chater Garden, 2 Murray Road is merely a stroll from both the Central and Admiralty metro stations.

The commercial property comes with column-less Grade A office space with 5m floor-to-floor height. Its façade will be extremely durable as it will become the first in Hong Kong to make use of 4-ply, double-laminated, double-curved insulated glass that can withstand powerful typhoons.

Aside from that, it has a plethora of sustainable features that helped it gain LEED Platinum and WELL Platinum pre-certification, as well as the highest 3-star rating under China’s green building evaluation standard.

The design unveiling comes over three years after the 31,000 sq ft site was purchased by local real estate developer, Henderson Land. During the sale, it set the record for the most expensive land parcel, said property consultancy JLL.

But the deal’s price tag has been exceeded by two other deals in Hong Kong: a site near the city’s old airport changed hands for HK$25.16 billion (US$3.25 billion) in 2018, while a plot in Kowloon above the railway station fetched HK$42.23 billion (US$5.45 billion) in 2019.

Nonetheless, the 2 Murray Road site is still the most expensive in per square foot (psf) terms as it’s more than HK$50,000 (US$6,450) psf.

The flower-inspired skyscraper is expected to start operating by the fall of 2023.

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