kwong von glinow brings new urban verticality to residential-living in hong kong

kwong von glinow brings new urban verticality to residential-living in hong kong

‘towers within a tower’ by kwong von glinow design office brings hong kong‘s urban verticality into the apartment unit itself. apartments, which are typically inhabited in a horizontal arrangement, are stacked one atop the other vertically for this proposal. therefore, each apartment becomes its own tower and when aggregated next to one another, they produce shared outdoor spaces: a local neighborhood at every level.

towers within a tower
all images © kwong von glinow design office



although variation may occur through aggregating each apartment, US based kwong von glinow design office maintains three basic unit types: studios of 32 m2, single bedrooms of 37 m2, and family units of 42 m2. each one of these units are unique in their proportion, organization, and color, serving the varying needs of each tenant type.

vertical living within a tower



each unit type is composed of prefabricated elements. once assembled into boxes, it can be easily mounted onto each other apartment with cast-in steel-plate embeds. the concrete frame is clad with colorful ceramic tiles highlighting the common construction material of residential towers in hong kong.

resident access between the towers



the modularity of the construction system and minimal material weight allows for economic fabrication and flexible transportation. this system can be aggregated across scales, from a four-story rural housing unit to a tower in the city — each time adapting to different ratios of studios, single bedrooms, and family apartments. as a system, the tower unit produces a new typology of residential-living, where daily life is framed with ‘pixels’.

resident access between the towers


translation of horizontal domesticity into a tower

slab stack to tower stack

three basic tower unit types

9-grid module forming 10m x 10m x 10m

infill housing typology

village housing typology

island housing typology



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

  • Privacy issues a galore! And all those windows to be cleaned….poor domestic helpers 🙁

    michael says:
  • Great concept, but it just feels kind of unresolved with all of the dirt traps between the units.

    Drew says:
  • It is a great idea, but seems to ignore the HK economical context and fails to understand the infrastructural forces behind HK Urban and architectural shape. Given the price of every square foot, such typology is just impossible to apply . HK is neither the US or Japan. Designer should understand the contexts at large before starting to drafts cools diagrams.

    Vincent says:
  • Since Le Corbusier Dom-ino to SITE’s stacked houses, the idea of vertical village is an obsession of modern architecture. However The actually built HK is a more interesting typology of vertical city .

    Vincent says:
  • Good points from other comments, but also the with all those stairs – efficiency of each unit is very low – not to mention safety with all those spiral stairs. Imagine my kids rolling down those steps… (or drunk friends)

    Don’t give up, keep trying.

    Ilya says:
  • This is looks similar to the Lego concept of stackable container units. If the issues with privacy, safety, stability, energy efficiency, greenery, flexible in configurations can be fine-tuned, I’m sure this idea can work in many places, not just restricted to HK.

    Lisa says:
  • This idea can work in the asepticized environment of north Europe Market, or in the conceptual realm of the academics. Kurokawa tried in Japan and it didn’t work, Archigram dreamt about it and it never lead to anything. It can work but certainly not in HK. It’s more like a HK inspired concept with the romantic distance of bourgeois designers.

    Vincent says:

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