Hong Kong Polytechnic University's HK$400 million 'innovation tower' could be threatened by height restrictions proposed for Tsim Sha Tsui by the Town Planning Board yesterday. The height of the proposed tower - intended to house the school of design and a museum showcasing local and international design classics - is more than 70 metres. But the new restriction proposed for the campus is only 45 metres. The tower was designed by internationally renowned architect Zaha Hadid, who won a competition held by the university. The architect was the first female recipient of the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is regarded in architectural circles as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Building plans for the tower have not yet been approved. Construction is scheduled to start next year, with completion 2011. Victor Lo Chung-wing, chairman of the Polytechnic University council, said last year that the building would be a meeting place for all disciplines studied at the university. The university is allowed to raise objections to the height restrictions in the two-month public consultation period. Architect Vincent Ng Wing-shun, a member of the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee, welcomed the restrictions and said they followed harbour planning guidelines. The guidelines, drafted by the committee, recommend that building heights should remain low along the harbour and increase inwards to the city centre. 'A stepped-height environment would facilitate better air ventilation,' he said. But he warned that the new restrictions would not apply to projects that had already obtained approval from the Buildings Department. One example is a hotel proposed by New World Development on the harbourfront. The hotel, 265 metres high, will be built at the New World Centre after its department store is moved in July. Kim Chan Kim-on, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, said he was worried that the uniform height of 60 metres proposed along the harbourfront would affect Hong Kong's cityscape. 'Buildings of various heights form a beautiful and unique cityscape when you look at Tsim Sha Tsui from the Eastern Island Corridor,' Mr Chan said, adding that the government should consider minor relaxations on height limits in individual cases. Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, managing director of Savills Valuation and Professional Services, agreed that a uniform height of 60 metres in East Tsim Sha Tsui would create a monotonous look. He said the Hong Kong Island waterfront was more attractive than in Kowloon because of the different building heights. With the new height restriction, building owners would have no incentive to redevelop their properties, Mr Chan said. And while developers in foreign countries could get compensation if they lost out due to government rules, developers in Hong Kong would not.