Building is a manifestation of 'joyful life', designers say Architects designing the revitalisation plan for the Central Police Station site said yesterday it would be 'ridiculous' to lower the height of a 160-metre-tall transparent tower, arguing that the building was a manifestation of 'joyful life'. They also described a suggestion to explore extra usable space underground at the site as costly and inappropriate. In a video conference yesterday, architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron elaborated on their design to turn the cluster of 19th century buildings into a mix of cultural and commercial venues. Mr de Meuron said it was not ego that had led to the design of the towering structure in conjunction with the historic buildings; it was to allow the public space to be both used and seen by the people of Hong Kong. 'The vertical dimension ... normally is reserved for other people, and now we make it something which is privileging everybody in the same way and is giving a possibility for people to go up,' Mr Herzog said. 'The transparent structure will allow people to see the activities inside.' Mr de Meuron said the architects had studied four possibilities for the site before deciding to build a block on the upper platform area, which will house an auditorium, theatre, two cinemas, a gallery and an exhibition space. One of the other possibilities was to explore underground space. It was 'costly' to go underground, Mr de Meuron said, adding that it would be 'a real shame' to create an underground commercial supermarket-style effect hidden from public view. He also said the historic buildings would be prone to damage if the construction involved digging too far underground. The other two options were not to do anything to the site or to put these facilities on the ground floor. Mr de Meuron said the architects had been contacted by the Jockey Club in December 2005 but refused to disclose how much they were paid for the project. They also said they had not decided on the material to be used for the structure. They said they had been 'fascinated' by Hong Kong's bamboo scaffolding, but were unlikely to build the structure from bamboo as it would be 'too lightweight'. Architect Bernard Lim Wan-fung, a member of the Town Planning Board, said he doubted the height was justified because part of the structure was decorative instead of functional. He said he welcomed the design input from overseas architects but they should pair up with local designers to fully understand any local reaction to the design. 'The architects from overseas may not know that the bamboo-like structures sticking out may not be appealing from the fung shui point of view,' he said. Lawmaker Patrick Lau Sau-shing said the new design should be harmonious with the style of the original buildings, adding that the Legislative Council would ask the government to explain the reason for accepting the Jockey Club's proposal before public consultation.