The following article has been written for issue #9 of the architectural magazine CameraCronica (www..cameracronica.it) dedicated to the City of Hong Kong. Arcomai thanks Camera Cronica for authorizing the publication of the article in its pages.


© arcomai I View of south-northen side of the Kowloon peninsula from Mid Level (Hong Kong Island).

A few months have passed since December 2014, when media from all over the world broadcasted dramatic images of Hong Kong Police clearing out the student sit-ins in the Admiralty economic and business district. It was the end of the so-called “Umbrella Revolution”, the longest democratic protest ever staged in Hong Kong or in China for that matter over the last thirty years. Even though thousands of tents and umbrellas, symbols of the protest, were swept away along with educational facilities and art installations such as the Lennon Wall (erected during the long 75 days of paci¬ c protest), the Internet and the social networks would not give up on this extraordinary event in hope that it might be revived in the near future.


 © arcomai I Admiralty Centre, the “Village of civil disobedience”.

The place where the protest was organized, and its counter-symbol, is the Central Government Complex housing the headquarters of the HKSAR Government. Built in 2011 and across the street from Admiralty Centre, the area surrounding the Complex gradually became known as the “village of civil disobedience” and pilgrimage site for residents and tourists. Designed by the local firm, Rocco Design Architects, the Central Government Complex is within walking distance of the celebrated Central District and its famous buildings such as the HSBC Tower designed by Foster + Partners (1985), Paul Rudolph’s Lippo Centre (1988) and I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower (1990). Designed and built before the British “handover” of Hong Kong to China in 1997, Central District will become the archeological site of contemporary architecture. Its fate sealed by escalating property and rental prices, limited land supply and decentralization that will see new business districts in other areas to meet the financial and business market’s constantly growing demand.


 © arcomaiCentral Government Complex / The headquarters of the HKSAR Government. The Lennon Wall.

Given this strategic development, Kowloon East is ear marked for strategic development of the new central business district spearheaded by the Energizing Kowloon East Office inaugurated in June 2012. Recent developments in Kwun Tong District have attracted building names that recall those found in Central District such as Landmark East which was designed by the American architectural firm Arquitectonica. Kowloon Bay has also seen regentrification of its previous light industrial zone to commercial developments led by Kerry Properties’ Enterprise Square Two, Three and Five which include the entertainment centre MegaBox designed by the American architectural firm Jerde.


 © arcomai I M+Museum (model).

Along the south-eastern side of the Kowloon peninsula, there is now the 320 hectare Kai Tak Development which Is focused on regentri¬fication of the area around the old Kai Tak Airport site close to Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay. The development plan includes: 1.70 million square meters for retail and offices, about 41,000 public/private housing units, multi-purpose sports complex and stadium, MTR Kai Tak Station and the recently completed Kai Tak Cruise Terminal designed by Foster and Partners. This new architectural season will see protagonists local design firms such as Rocco Design Architects, Ronald Lu Partners, P&T Group, Leigh & Orange Ltd, LWK & Partners Ltd, and MAP Architecture & Planning Ltd vying for signature developments along the Kowloon East skyline.


© arcomai I Lippo Centre.

Last February, on the south-western side of Kowloon, construction began on the M+ Museum. The M+Museum is a monumental complex that will house contemporary Asian art. The museum will be completed by 2018. The venue is designed by Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with the Hong Kong-based TFP Farrells. The building will cover 60,000 square meters of galleries. The museum will be part of the future West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) along with a theme park and 16 other facilities. The masterplan for this new development in south-west Kowloon was designed by Foster + Partners.


 © arcomai I View of south-eastern side of the Kowloon peninsula from Quarry Bay (Hong Kong Island).

While the redevelopment process of the city is quite visible, the busy urban underground network is also the object of frantic transformation. The extension of the MTR Island Line completed last January now reaches the Kennedy Town District in the north-western part of the Hong Kong Island. MTR South Island Line which is nearing completion will connect MTR Admiralty Station to major destinations on the south side of the Island such as Ocean Park and South Horizons. MTR Shatin-Central Link which is under construction will bring passengers to and from the New Territories into Central District and turn MTR Admiralty Station into a major interchange station. The Express Rail Link Terminal (West Kowloon Terminus) is currently under construction on the other side of the Victoria Harbour. This high-speed rail terminus will be the largest underground station in the world and is being developed by Aedas and Aecom. It is a 430,000 square meter terminus that will link Hong Kong to Beijing.


 © arcomai I Kennedy Town Station.

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