Snøhetta unveils a beveled skyscraper on the site of the old Hong Kong Airport

Snøhetta unveils a beveled skyscraper on the site of the old Hong Kong Airport

Norwegian studio Snøhetta relied on textiles and tailoring in its design for the Airside skyscraper, which opened at the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong.

The project consists of five interconnected glass buildings in a staggered arrangement, with the smallest volumes located adjacent to the Kai Tak River.

The exterior of Airside by Snøhetta
Airside consists of five interconnected volumes

These lower volumes form the base of the Airside and combine with two towers, the tallest of which is 213 metres.

Snøhetta also designed landscaped courtyards and rooftop terraces for Airside, which is located above the Kai Tak MTR station in the area that formerly housed Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport from 1925 to 1998.

Lower buildings of a Hong Kong skyscraper
It also includes landscaped spaces

Inside, the lower buildings include 60,000 square meters of retail space, while the tower includes 100,000 square meters of office space.

The project’s design draws on Hong Kong’s textile-making heritage and draws on different aspects of tailoring.

Beveled edges on air side
Its shape is inspired by textile design

The shape of the Airside consists of beveled edges in reference to the cuts of textiles, while the fluted glass covering part of the facade is a reference to the folds of the fabric.

“The building negotiates scales between the urban and the human,” said Robert Greenwood, partner at Snøhetta.

“It forms a meaningful, engaging and vibrant public realm for the thousands of people who will pass through it every day while bringing a new icon to the skyline and a focal point for the region,” Greenwood continued.

Airside has achieved LEED Platinum certification and is the first private development in Hong Kong to receive five of the highest green building certifications, according to Snøhetta.

Skyscaper retail lobby
There are undulating spaces and courtyards inside

Inside, the retail lobby has pedestals decorated with a specially designed woven fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.

Snøhetta aims to create an “attractive pedestrian landscape” using undulating, folding forms throughout the interior, which features inclined walkways and multiple courtyards.

Water features in a Hong Kong skyscraper
The Airside has water features to help cool the landscape

Airside, which opened in September, has more than 1,350 square meters of photovoltaic panels on its roof and is also linked to the Kai Tak district cooling system, which uses cooled seawater from a central climate control station.

It also features urban plantings and landscape design with an emphasis on native species, as well as water features that help counter the urban heat island effect.

Other recent projects by Snøhetta include the expansion of the Norwegian American Museum in Iowa and the Oval Planetarium in France.

Photography by Kevin Mack.

Project credits:

structural engineer: Snow hood
Executive architect: Ronald Low & Co. (Hong Kong) Limited
Landscape architect: Snow hood
Structural, geotechnical and civil engineer: Ovi Arup & Co. Hong Kong Limited
Building services engineer: Ovi Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited / J. Roger Preston Limited
Executive landscape architect: CITY LIMITED
Quantity Surveyor: Arcadis Hong Kong Limited
Building Sustainability Engineer: Ovi Arup & Co. Hong Kong Limited
Interface Engineer and BMU: Ovi Arup & Co. Hong Kong Limited

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