Swire Group

Gehry's latest comes with a twist

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 September, 2011, 12:00am


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An insight into how acclaimed architect Frank Gehry came up with the twisting design for his first residential building in Asia is given in an exhibition that opens today.

Models and sketches made by Gehry during the creative process for the project at 53 Stubbs Road are on display in Taikoo Place, Island East, until October 27.

The 12-storey building, overlooking the city and Victoria Harbour, turns as it rises, with one flat on each floor measuring up to 6,000 sq ft.

In a video shown at the launch of the exhibition yesterday, Gehry, 82, said he wanted to make it an intimate experience for the residents. 'So I broke down the box into segments, and gave a lot more access to the outdoors,' he said.

The architect, unable to travel after back surgery, was represented by partner Tensho Takemori.

The models show how he modified the floor plan, from a traditional design of solid walls separating the rooms, to an open-plan composed almost entirely of glass, which also encases the columns.

This was made possible by the building's helical external structure, which reduces the need for load-bearing walls.

Each apartment in the Swire Properties development has a series of balconies that Gehry calls 'boat decks' made for the sea view, inspired by his love of sailing. The northern walls are made of glass to maximise the view and the southern ones are solid to block the sun.

Models of Gehry's famous works - including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, are also on display.

Swire Properties' chief operating officer Gordon Onley said yesterday the Stubbs Road project was named Opus Hong Kong. He said the company would be holding it as an investment property and it could attract the highest rents in the city.

'But it is not impossible to sell a unit if the price is good,' he said.

The site was the residence of the managing director of Taikoo Dockyard after Swire Group bought it in the 1940s.