So what should the multibillion-dollar landmark on the Tamar site look like? Architects and lawmakers shared their views with the South China Morning Post when we showed them a selection of the world's finest civic buildings. According to the government's specifications, the complex should be 'modern, functional and operational'. It should have a high block for the various departments, and a low block for the chief executive's office. It should also: express Hong Kong's cultural heritage; reflect the city's international status; articulate Hong Kong's dignity and stability; and show that the government is accountable and not alienated. John Wong Po-lung, president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, said the building should have a modern, high-rise style and not emulate colonial or Victorian buildings. 'It has to be approachable so the public can wander freely into its interior, while natural lighting inside is also important. This would give people a feeling of an open government,' he said. Mr Wong said the themes of indigenous Chinese buildings in Hong Kong could also be blended into the design. One architectural firm's managing director said the design should reflect the administration's governing style - a sort of architectural psychology. A tall building, for example, would represent an arrogant and less-open government, he said. He cited the example of Tokyo's City Hall - built when Japan's economy reached its peak - which he said projects a 'fascist' and 'extremely right-wing' image. He said the building should feature lots of glass and plenty of space inside for public assembly, to reflect an open government willing to accommodate different views. A low-rise design could improve inter-departmental communications, he said. Lau Ping-cheung, Legco representative of the architecture, surveying and planning sector, said he favoured a low-rise glass design, similar to that of the European Parliament, to demonstrate governmental transparency. 'I really found the Tokyo town hall a bit too cold,' he said. Democrat James To Kun-sun, also preferred the European Parliament. He said the new building should reflect 21st-century Hong Kong. Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said he favoured the Tokyo design because it was 'practical and convenient'. 'It should never be some fancy and luxurious building taking up lots of space. It has to be practical with more storeys. A pretty outlook is not necessary,' he said. But property sector representative Abraham Razack warned that Hong Kong should not simply copy the designs of prominent foreign buildings because it needed to reflect the city's unique culture. He added that the public should be given easy access to the building.