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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #1
hkskyline
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HONG KONG | Skyscraper Walls Development News

Background
Skyscraper walls are becoming a major concern in Hong Kong as developers built new supertall residential skyscrapers of at least 50 stories in redevelopment projects and new projects on reclaimed land. Many sit near the water, and are arranged in a wall-type fashion, prompting concerns from nearby residents that these large masses of buildings are blocking ventilation and increasing the heat island effect.

The objective of this thread is to track such skyscraper wall projects and how planning authorities are addressing concerns from such developments.

Heat Island Map (South China Morning Post)



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Wall effect buildings are ruining the health of our citizens
28 June 2007
South China Morning Post

Private residential buildings with a screen wall design increase the pressure of life in this city, disrupt its harmony and put at risk cohesive relationships within communities.

Worst of all, they destroy the air-ventilation. This exacerbates the air pollution problems, for which Hong Kong is so famous throughout the world. Unfortunately, despite public concern, there is no sign of an improvement of these problems. This means Hong Kong people are being forced to exist in a suffocating environment.

As I have said, these buildings, once erected, hinder air circulation and promote what is called the "heat island effect". At night, the concrete walls release heat absorbed during the day, leading to hotter nights. More air-conditioning is needed to cope with these hot nights, which raises the ambient temperature and creates a vicious circle.

Our developers prefer to build blocks in long rectangular shapes so residents can have coastal views and this is what causes these huge screens that impede circulation. Most of our best-known property developers have been involved in these projects. Can they honestly claim that they bear no responsibility for what these buildings do?

Sadly, reclaimed land on Hoi Fai Road, the last "ventilation window' for Tai Kok Tsui, has been sold. New buildings will join One SilverSea, the Long Beach and Hampton Place, to form a 200-metre-wide wall screen. Investigations in the local old area reveal that 72.5 per cent of responding residents claimed that ventilation at home in the summer was getting worse, while 43.4 per cent said their families suffered more airway or pulmonary diseases. But the area will be completely blocked and the health of local residents will be badly affected.

Green Sense has made a submission to the Town Planning Board for the residential plot ratio to be cut and for a 10-metre-wide ventilation corridor to be maintained at the north of the lot.

If property developers focus only on profit and continue to construct these buildings which create the wall effect, this merely shows their lack of corporate responsibility and conscience.

I appeal to them to stop what they are doing.

Tam Hoi-pong, president of Green Sense.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #2
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those are some big, (and not good looking) walls. the first picture is really crazy, I dont know why they have to make the buildings so wide...
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Old August 10th, 2007, 07:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizzato View Post
those are some big, (and not good looking) walls. the first picture is really crazy, I dont know why they have to make the buildings so wide...
Those apartments that are facing the harbour cost significant higher than those don't. By making the buildings sit side by side along one frontage, it maximizes the number of units that can face the harbour for a better view. From the developers point of view, this is the way they can make the most profit from selling the flats.

And those old community sits behind the new highrise suffers the most, as well as the HK people.

BTW, a very good thread to start with, hk.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #4
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^This is not entirely true actually. Given that the same building would exist in separate blocks, then the left and right sides of each scraper (that now don't exist, but are the internals of the building), could have some view to the harbor, even with an angle. So, with a good configuration you could probably resolve this problem and decrease heat-island phenomena.

And the wall-scrapers are really ugly, because they don't repeat just in the vertical direction but in the horizontal as well.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MetroGardian View Post
^This is not entirely true actually. Given that the same building would exist in separate blocks, then the left and right sides of each scraper (that now don't exist, but are the internals of the building), could have some view to the harbor, even with an angle. So, with a good configuration you could probably resolve this problem and decrease heat-island phenomena.
Incorrect, because generally speaking the left and right sides of each building would either be the bedroom, or what is more likely, the bathroom/kitchen, hence not obstructing the view from those rooms (which wouldn't be seperate apartments themselves) at all.

I think that was what you were trying to say?
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #6
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Space is expensive in HK, and developers see only money in their eyes.

I see a change coming, hopefully its not a reduction in height, but better tower designs in general.



Hey my aunt lives in one of these towers!
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #7
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@ hkskyline

I actually love Hong Kong's supertall apartment blocks or condominiums. They're, IMHO, the most aesthetically designed ones in Asia. I mean, they look more charming than those awful commie blocks of Seoul or Beijing.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #8
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The skyscraper walls are one thing I seriously love about HK. I can understand a lot of people not liking them, but riding past on the airport express you see so many. It makes you understand just how crowded and developed Hong Kong really is.

I loved them
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Old August 11th, 2007, 12:35 PM   #9
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Planners demand wind corridorsat Oil Street development site
11 August 2007
South China Morning Post

The waterfront site of the former government supplies depot in Oil Street must have three wind corridors to avoid a wall effect and improve ventilation in the area, the Town Planning Board said yesterday.

The board's metro planning committee accepted the Planning Department's brief for the North Point site after considering its air-ventilation study report.

The report suggested three parallel wind corridors - along Oil Street, in the middle part of the site from Electric Road to the harbour front, and along the northeastern boundary of the site. The department also said tree planting should be considered along Oil Street to reduce strong onshore winds.

The committee's vice-chairman, Greg Wong Chak-yan, suggested allowing developers to build footbridges linking blocks at the site, which is permitted to have a maximum gross floor area of 70,200 square metres.

"It is not necessary to have footbridges on each floor, but perhaps on four to five floors," he said.

Chief town planner Phyllis Li Chi-miu said it was feasible to have footbridges.

"If the footbridges are high enough, they will not affect ventilation in the area," she said.

Eastern District Council vice-chairman Wong Kwok-hing said three wind corridors were enough but they should not be all in the same direction.

Dr Wong said it would be better for the Lands Department to stipulate the width of the wind corridors in the lease.

But committee member Maggie Chan Man-ki said setting width restrictions would make it less flexible for potential developers.

Lands Department assistant director James Merritt said the lease would neither show the wind corridors nor require an air-ventilation study.

But any master layout plan of the site that developers submit to the metro planning committee for approval must comply with the planning brief endorsed yesterday.

The height restrictions of the site are 100 metres for commercial buildings closest to the harbour and 120 metres for residential buildings on the landward side of the site.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 09:32 PM   #10
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I think the skyscraper walls look cool.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 12:11 AM   #11
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I'm sorry, but we can't demolish these skyscraper walls. Many of them are too young for the wrecking ball.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #12
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`Wall effect' voices turn up at auction
1 August 2007
Hong Kong Standard

Developers called on the government yesterday to clarify conditions of land sales before auctions and suggested the relevant authorities outline environmental principles applicable to sites being sold.

This comes in the wake of issues highlighted by environmental concern groups such as Greensense, which asked the Town Planning Board to trim the plot ratio from 8 to 9 at the Wong Tai Sin site auctioned yesterday. The plot ratio determines the number of apartments that can be built on the site. Greensense also sought height restrictions, air-ventilation assessments and demanded that a minimum distance of 15 meters between blocks be imposed.

``Buying land is like shopping _ it's better to make the details clear,'' said Augustine Wong Ho-ming, Henderson Land Development (0012) general manager of property development.

Greensense had demanded that the auction be delayed while its application was considered.

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor rejected the idea, while promising to review requirements of land sales to add certain ``green conditions.'' Greensense, which had earlier demanded that another plot in Ho Man Tin be split to help avoid a ``wall effect,'' said government bodies are found wanting in planning.

Greensense president Roy Tam Hoi- bong said under the disposition and height clause, the Towning Planning Board has the power to impose restrictions, but it has not exercised the powers for more than a decade. The board's powers are also limited since the government appoints all members.

Tam said the group will continue to monitor sites on the sales list.

In response to community concerns about the ``wall effect'' created by buildings, Kerry Real Estate Agency executive director Chu Ip-pui said the developer has ``listened to the voices,'' and the site could accommodate four to five towers built at a ``very comfortable distance.'' The planned towers will not create a ``wall effect,'' he said.

But he rejected calls from green groups to lower the plot ratio. He said Kerry Properties (0683), which won the bidding for Wong Tai Sin site yesterday, ``will definitely use up'' the plot ratio of nine listed in the condition of sales.

Meanwhile, members of the League of Social Democrats led by maverick legislator Leung Kwok-hung protested in the auction hall before the sale began. They were later ejected. Auctioneer James Merritt from the Lands Department considered it a minor disturbance.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 11:01 AM   #13
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Hong Kong is incredibly dense... I like that aspect of it, though.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #14
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nice
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Old August 14th, 2007, 05:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim856796 View Post
I'm sorry, but we can't demolish these skyscraper walls. Many of them are too young for the wrecking ball.
The focus is to prevent more skyscraper walls from popping up and blocking air flow. The existing buildings cannot be touched. The government doesn't own the land, and allowed the developers to build like that in the first place.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 06:02 AM   #16
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Good thread. I'll post some more pics when I have time.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 06:37 AM   #17
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i love the walls also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by city_thing View Post
The skyscraper walls are one thing I seriously love about HK. I can understand a lot of people not liking them, but riding past on the airport express you see so many. It makes you understand just how crowded and developed Hong Kong really is.

I loved them

exactly. its a great drive from the airport to the city. i drove through there at about 8:30 at night when they were celebrating the 10th anivercity and it was truely stunning.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The focus is to prevent more skyscraper walls from popping up and blocking air flow. The existing buildings cannot be touched. The government doesn't own the land, and allowed the developers to build like that in the first place.
We may save the skyscraper walls that are under construction (most importantly the ones that are nearing completion) and scrap some of the approved and/or proposed walls. (I don't know what we can do with the sites of those approved walls) There have been only six unbuilt skyscraper projects and none of them involve highrise walls.

Last edited by Jim856796; August 14th, 2007 at 08:16 AM.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 03:49 PM   #19
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So those Scyscraper walls don't only look horrible?
They are bad for your health as well.
There's another reason to stop building them than.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 04:47 PM   #20
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