Ocean Terminal extension could be Hong Kong’s living room, architect says
New observation deck at city’s biggest shopping centre offers unrestricted panoramic sea views
Not many people in Hong Kong can afford to live in a flat with unrestricted panoramic sea views from their living room.
But an architect behind a newly built observation deck and commercial complex at the city’s biggest shopping centre hopes the project will change that.
The Ocean Terminal extension in Tsim Sha Tsui, which opened to the public last month, transformed from a deserted cargo loading area into a five-storey complex with restaurants, a free observation deck and upgraded customs and immigration facilities for cruise passengers.
“[I think it] creates an opportunity for people to get right down to the waterfront in the heart of the city in a secure and peaceful way, which we think is quite rare in Hong Kong,” said Luke Fox, head of one of the six design studio teams at architecture firm Foster and Partners.
“It’s really seen as a place that people can adopt and have as their own alternate living room in a way for people to come out and enjoy the great view here,” Fox said.
The extension boasts a 270-degree panoramic view of Victoria Harbour, where the public can look out to West Kowloon and Hong Kong Island on both sides. Featuring wide cantilevered terraces, it also shades lower levels from the sun.
Two event spaces measuring 13,000 sq ft and seating that can hold up to 200 people were designed so the public could enjoy performances on its rooftop.
In Hong Kong, where public space is at a premium, Fox hoped the extension could be an attraction similar to London’s Trafalgar Square, which was pedestrianised in 2003.
“Just like how Trafalgar Square is called London’s living room, we hope that the extension can also become Hong Kong’s living room, in its own way,” he said.
The new wing added 100,000 sq ft of space to Harbour City, part of Ocean Terminal, which already spans about two million sq ft of floor space and comprises 450 shops.
Founded by British architect Norman Foster, Foster and Partners has a long history of designing buildings and infrastructure in Hong Kong.
Numerous local landmarks fall under the firms portfolio, such as the HSBC main building in Central completed in 1986, Hong Kong International Airport, Kai Tak cruise terminal, and the master plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District.
Fox, who spoke to the Post during a recent visit to Hong Kong, said the extension was not without its challenges, having taken four years to build.
“I think the planning regulations can be challenging in terms of the gross floor area restrictions with trying to create interesting spaces while working with those regulations,” he said.
For example, a restriction that no shading could exceed 1.5 metres forced architects to come up with more creative solutions to maximise solar protection of the building.
Government regulations stipulate that any shading structures longer than 1.5 metres must be counted into the building’s gross floor area, or GFA. The rationale is that developers might later enclose all or part of the empty spaces to build illegal structures for profit.