Swire Group

A work of art for Hong Kong's skyline

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 September, 2011, 12:00am


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Frank Gehry never settles for a straight line or a flat surface.

The buildings of this most recognisable of contemporary architects twist and swirl. Their walls don't lie still. They bend at improbable angles as if they were melting, like candles. The structures may be massive, but they seem to float. They wink at the viewer, letting you in on a joke you hadn't heard before: that architecture is fun.

He put the small Spanish city of Bilbao on the international map with his startling Guggenheim Museum, a shimmering metallic pile of curves suggesting a ship, which influential US architect Philip Johnson called 'the greatest building of our time'.

His Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles is like a piece of modern sculpture set down amid the vertical towers of downtown LA, which can't help but look sterile against his building's vitality. His new Beekman Tower in New York is a residential high-rise that looks as if it were twisted by King Kong.

An exhibition that opened this week in Taikoo Place pays deserved homage to the 82-year-old Californian, whose first residential building in Asia is rising at 53 Stubbs Road. With characteristic creativity, the 12-storey building, due for completion next year, turns as it rises. Each floor contains one flat, each 6,000 square feet with sea views and balconies. In a video interview, Gehry said he wanted to give each resident an intimate experience. 'So I broke down the box into segments, and gave a lot more access to the outdoors.'

Here's one man who, in the most literal sense, thinks outside the box. We're glad that Swire Properties has done the same and pushed to bring this building to Hong Kong. Our skyline is getting something like a sculpture.