Architecture and Design

Hong Kong needs green buildings to spruce up the environment

Developing green buildings and designs that have a positive impact on the environment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2017, 3:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 September, 2017, 11:57am

Over the past decade, a lot of buildings were developed in Hong Kong.

Most of them, according to William Lim, managing director of CL3, a Hong Kong architecture and design firm, were built with an appealing exterior design.

However, they weren’t focusing much on the end-users. Times have changed; end-users are becoming more selective of space so architects and developers are thinking more about what buildings or designs to pursue.

“Buildings should have their own personality and they have to be a lot more thoughtful [in design]. Architects should also consider the end-users so they can be happy and productive,” said Lim.

Architects nowadays need to think deeply into what they are building. He thinks future buildings should be constructed in such a way they are sensitive to the issues of the environment.

These include the use of curtain wall, an outer wall that encloses the space within a building. Lim said they could be very impersonal and cold and they are not really designed for human use.

Lim hopes to see more buildings use natural ventilation to reduce energy consumption for air-conditioning, ventilation and lighting. By saving energy and using energy-efficient systems, buildings can achieve sustainability. According to Lim, this idea is what driving future developers to build more sustainable buildings in the future.

In achieving an eco-friendly design in commercial buildings or hotels, Lim stresses the use of environmentally friendly materials. He tries as much as possible to use reconstituted materials like wood veneers and recyclable glasses not only to reduce emissions and consumption of raw materials, but also to save energy.

Moving forward, Lim envisions Hong Kong developments incorporate the concept of sustainability. He hopes to see more buildings with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, an international board that sets different standards by using a point system to certify the building’s sustainability.

“LEED has played an important role and has set standards for good projects. There is a certain responsibility to the environment that we need to be very conscious about and that’s going to drive a lot of future projects,” he said.

Lim’s current project, H Queen’s in Central, which is currently being developed by Henderson Land, is going to be a LEED-certified building.

Set to open in mid-2017, the purpose-built building, which will house art galleries, restaurants and retail stores, features openable windows to improve the indoor air quality.

“We really want to show the contemporary lifestyle, and that you don’t need to be in an air-conditioned environment all the time,” he said.

Lim has seen some commercial developments in Hong Kong built with strange corners and shapes and with H Queen’s, he breaks all kinds of stigmatism of architecture by designing an interior space first then forming an exterior. “I always feel architecture is not only about the exterior, but it also has to relate to the end-users,” he said.

“I think having a purpose-built building makes sense to the developer,” Lim said, in response to the question future buildings should also be purpose-built. “We [architects] are used to do things [generally] with almost no user in mind. A lot of buildings are designed to rent spaces and as a result, they don’t really have strong identity to distinguish themselves,” he said.