snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage

snøhetta completes airside in hong kong

 

On the 25th closing anniversary of the famed Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong comes Snøhetta’s latest project in the city – Airside. Revealed in 2020 and completed this year as a LEED Platinum-certified mixed-use landmark, the project will be a gateway for a bustling redeveloped business district. Airside weaves generous public spaces and gardens through exterior plazas and rooftop landscapes suited for urban farming, restaurants, events, and recreation. With views over Victoria Harbour and the Kai Tak River, the 177,670-square-meter project merges a 213-meter-tall tower with a second tower and its base in a continuous form. Set atop the Kai Tak MTR station, the design extends the urban landscape into the architecture, creating direct access between pedestrian transit areas, retail spaces at the tower’s base, and elevated garden landscapes. The development officially opened in September 2023 and incorporates several sustainability practices, making it the first in Hong Kong to receive five of the highest green building certifications. 

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
all images © Kevin Mak

 

 

a vibrant public realm and neighborhood anchor

 

Snøhetta (see more here) completed Airside as five interconnected volumes that gradually step up from the Kai Tak River, lending the tall tower an inviting presence at ground level. The building’s sculpted forms shape a series of human-scale urban spaces at ground level and rooftop gardens with commanding views of Victoria Harbour and Kai Tak. Landscaped plazas ring the architecture, further integrating it into the surroundings and creating an engaging pedestrian realm. Both the tower and the base gently step down towards the southernmost corner, revealing the rooftops to the surrounding plaza and riverside promenade to create a sense of interconnection. Meanwhile, an elevated garden tops the podium containing the central atrium, creating a signature public space that overlooks the surroundings with ample seating, water features, and planted areas.

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
Airside by Snøhetta is a LEED Platinum-certified mixed-use landmark

 

 

Below the garden, at the heart of the building, is a 60,000 square-meter multi-story retail atrium filled with natural light, creating a spacious community gathering and social space. Above the elevated garden is a tower housing a 110,000 square meter office space. Together with nearby cultural and leisure facilities that are currently under construction, Airside become an anchor and public landmark for the area, helping attract start-ups, creative enterprises, and established businesses alike. Robert Greenwood, Partner and Director of Snøhetta’s Asia Pacific region, reflects on the expansive design:The building negotiates scales ranging from the urban to the human: it shapes a meaningful, inviting, and vibrant public realm for the thousands of people that will pass through it each day while bringing a new icon to the skyline and a focal point for the district. The building heralds the reinvention of this storied part of Hong Kong’s cityscape into a dynamic new neighbourhood.

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
the entire design pays homage to the textile industry, evoking folds, weaves, and tears

 

 

airside’s dynamic design pays homage to the textile industry

 

Snøhetta’s design concept pays homage to the legacy of the textile industry, making legible the transformation of the developer, Nan Fung Group, and Hong Kong itself from their focus on textile manufacturing to real estate development, finance, and technology. The entire design, from the landscape to the facade, massing, and interiors, evokes aspects of textiles and tailoring as qualities of fabrics through design moves like weaves, folds, tears, and cuts. The massing, with its chamfered slices, nods to the tearing and cutting involved in textile manufacturing. Its facade is composed of gently curved fluting glass, creating a visual effect that recalls the sinuous drapes and folds of fabric. In the tower lobby, a custom-designed lighting installation with a weave-like pattern extends across the ceiling. The retail atrium features spandrels clad with a custom-designed woven textile made from upcycled plastic from over 100,000 post-consumer bottles, referencing the manufacturing history of Nan Fung and Hong Kong and embracing the 21st-century ethos of sustainable production.

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
Snøhetta’s Airside officially opened in September 2023

 

 

snøhetta implements award-winning sustainable practices

 

Designed to the highest sustainability standards, Snøhetta’s Airside is the first private development in Hong Kong to be awarded five of the highest green building certifications. The roof and podium levels host over 1,350 square meters of photovoltaic (PV) farms with walkable PV panels—the largest PV farm of any commercial building in Hong Kong. It is the first commercial development to link to the Kai Tak District Cooling System, using chilled seawater distributed from a central plant for climate control. Airside also features a first-of-its-kind automatic underground bicycle parking system. At the same time, thirty percent of the site is covered in a soft landscape mainly planted with native species and includes water features to counter the urban heat-island effect. The building itself hosts 600 square meters of educational gardens with urban farms. Other sustainable aspects include automated waste sorting and storage systems, design moves that promote natural ventilation and daylighting, solar radiation protection, and rainwater harvesting.

 

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Following these unprecendeted implementations, the Airside development has been awarded the LEED US Platinum Certification, BEAM Plus New Building Final Platinum Certificate, WELL Building Standard Platinum Certification, BEAM Plus Neighbourhood Platinum Certification, and China Green Building Design Label 3-Star Certification. It also received the Grand Award in the Hong Kong Green Building Award 2019 for commercial buildings under construction. It was also the Gold Winner at the 2020 MIPIM Asia Awards 2020 for Best Futura Project.

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
a 60,000 square-meter multi-story retail atrium filled with natural light

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
landscaped plazas ring the architecture, further integrating it into the surroundings

airside-snoheta-opens-hong-kong-designboom-full-3

snøhetta’s mixed-use airside complex opens in hong kong as a tribute to textile heritage
entrance to the Airside complex

airside-snoheta-opens-hong-kong-designboom-full

 

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project info:

 

name: Airside 

location: Kai Tak, Hong Kong

client: Nan Fung Group

architecture: Snøhetta@snohetta

executive architect: Ronald Lu & Partners (Hong Kong) Limited

structural, geotechnical, & civil engineering: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited
building services engineering: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited / J. Roger Preston Limited
executive landscape architecture: Urbis Limited
quantity surveying: Arcadis Hong Kong Limited
building sustainability engineering: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited
facade & BMU engineer: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited
lighting design: Lighting Planners Associates (HK) Limited
main contractor: Hip Hing Construction Company Limited

photographer: Kevin Mak 

project period: 2017 – 2023
gross floor area: 177,670 sqm

height: 213 m

status: Completed September 2023

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