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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hong Kong traces its fortunes in its soaring skyline

HONG KONG, May 14, 2007 (AFP) - On either shore of the western entrance to Hong Kong's harbour stand what will be the city's two tallest office buildings -- the IFC2, which opened in 2003, and the ICC, due to open in 2009.

The soaring towers will form the two pillars of a so-called "harbour gateway," a striking monument to the strength of this Asian business hub's financial clout.

They are the most noticeable structures to have been erected in this city of skyscrapers since sovereignty passed from Britain to China in 1997, transforming a skyline that has changed in reflection of the city's fortunes.

Hong Kong possesses four of the world's 20 tallest buildings -- the figure wil rise to five with the opening of the ICC.

From the air, the southern shore of Hong Kong Island looks like a pin cushion, a solid three-mile wide swathe of skyscrapers creating one of the world's most spectacular skylines.


Skyline - October 2005

But it's a skyline in constant flux. Since the handover of June 30, 1997, Hong Kong's harbourfront has been transformed beyond recognition.

As well as the slender IFC2, which at 415-metres (1,381 feet) is the world's sixth tallest tower and Hong Kong's tallest, the skyline has been punctuated by several other new colossal buildings in the past 10 years.

In the downtown district, The Centre, a 346-metre monster opened in 1998, has added a dash of neon glitz to the city, with huge LED panels running up its sides that change colour every few seconds.


The Centre @ Night

The 283-metre Cheung Kong Centre is the flagship of property mogul Li Ka-shing, who is said to have a luxurious apartment in its penthouse.

Among the most noticeable changes to the skyline over the past decade has been the gradual shift of skyscraper construction from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, on the opposite side of the harbour.

This is most apparent in the West Kowloon area where the Union Square precinct of towers has risen in the past few years.


Union Square - April 2007

Centred on the ICC, which will be Hong Kong's tallest building and home to the city's Ritz Carlton Hotel, it comprises the Sorrento, the city's tallest residential block at 256 metres, and the 270-metre twin Cullinan Towers, which will offer luxury boutique hotels and serviced apartments.

They are all concentrated over what will be the city's largest retail centre, the two million-square-foot Elements shopping mall, above the newly opened Kowloon station.

Further north, the silo-shaped Langham Place represents the first green shoots of regeneration in the run-down but bustling Mong Kok district.


Langham Place
 

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Penang Skyscrapers Hunter
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nice article and pics ;)

i would love to see this
"The soaring towers will form the two pillars of a so-called "harbour gateway," "
happen soon :D
 

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In the future, Kowloon may become the centre of attraction or it may overrun HK Island in terms of skyline and skyscrapers
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don't be so sure about that. There is a huge public outcry over skyscraper walls in Kowloon. The pace of redevelopment will slow as expropriation and zoning issues need to be resolved. Langham Place almost took 2 decades to complete from expropriation to opening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Architect sings praises of city's growth up rather than out
12 June 2007
South China Morning Post

Tall buildings are here to stay and will become even more prominent as the 21st century unfolds, the principal architect of what will become Hong Kong's tallest building declared yesterday.

Paul Katz, from Kohn Pedersen FoxFox Associates, dismissed criticism of tall buildings as eyesores and environmentally unsustainable, insisting they are the way of the future.

They use less energy because they have less roof space, are closer to public transport, and preserve the natural environment, he said.

When construction is finished on the 118-storey International Commerce Centre, it will stretch 490 metres into the air, making it the tallest building in the city and the third-tallest in the world.

The project is part of Sun Hung Kai's Kowloon Station Development, which includes the residential towers The Cullinan and HarbourView Place, and the Ritz-Carlton and W hotels - and more than one million sq ft of shopping space.

While Kowloon is suited to large-scale buildings such as the International Commercial Centre, Mr Katz said the Central waterfront and Tamar development should keep heights lower and ensure the waterfront stays open to the public.

He was also sceptical about designating West Kowloon as a cultural precinct and suggested such an area would be better off in the Central district.

"You just have to look at the experience of London and South Bank, which took years to work despite London being one of the world's most cultured cities," he said.

Mr Katz described Hong Kong as the best model for urban development in Asia and said mainland cities should follow its upward development rather than embrace outward sprawl.

"When you fly into Hong Kong, you realise just how small the buildings are and how much green space there is," he said. "You have a choice: a small city or sprawl with cars, and sprawl really should be outlawed in a responsible society. Why would someone want to live in a city where whenever you want something, you have to jump into a car?"
 

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I had a thread on HK's skyline evolution
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=288151

Anyway here it goes

Anyway, lets take you back to the old school circa 1920s


Hong Kong during the 1920s. The buildings have their colonial architectures and are mostly mid-rise :)

How about 1960s


This is the year when Hong Kong's skyline starts to develop. Especially in The Central District. The tallest buildings during that period were the Princess Building, Swire House, City Hall and the old Bank of China and Hong Kong Bank buildings. The Hilton Hotel has been finish and was the tallest during that period.

1970s


From the early 1970s, one of the city's first reclamations had taken effect which was in Wan Chai & Causeway Bay.


Hong Kong in 1976. The Jardines House has been completed and became the tallest and most symbolic skyscraper. Also, you can see Hong Kong is as vibrant during that decade without those lighting effects and the Symphoney Of Lights.

1980s


Hong Kong in 1984. More office towers have been added in Central and Admiralty. Also, luxury high-rises have been developed in Mid-Levels. The reclamation in Wan Chai has been added with office towers.

1990s


The Bank Of China has been completed. The Central Plaza then became the tallest building in HK. The Centre became the tallest in the western part of the island and thousand of high-rises developed.

today


This is Hong Kong as of today. The 2 IFC has been completed. More highrises have been developed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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This thread is not about how Hong Kong's skyline evolved from the start of the manufacturing revolution but more about the changes since the handover a decade ago.

Handover 10th Anniversary thread : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=472366
How about the last two pics then. I'm pretty sure the 2nd to the last pic was taken after the handover since The Centre was completed during that time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How about the last two pics then. I'm pretty sure the 2nd to the last pic was taken after the handover since The Centre was completed during that time.
So are you saying out of all that information only the last 2 photos are relevant for this thread?

Hong Kong's post-handover skyscraper development has been quite staggering. Although a major boom took place in the 1990s, the supertalls really arrived after the handover. Much of the development came as a result of the new airport project, as new lands were reclaimed for the present 2 IFC and Union Square sites. In addition, a whole series of new residential skyscrapers have sprung up along the reclaimed lands in the western part of Kowloon and Tung Chung.

Also, keep in mind all this took place despite the Asian financial crisis and SARS, although recessions are expected as part of the regular economic cycle.
 

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This is amazing. I can't imagine how Hong Kong will look in another 20 years. Hopefully people stop groveling about skyscraper walls and find some way to continue building the scrapers while minimizing the environmental effects!
 

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Post-1997 Light Show in Victoria Harbour




We welcome the world for the 10th Anniversary and the aforesaid lighting show will take place every 8:00pm in the Victoria Harbour while there is additional rooftop firework events from July 1~8, 2007.

Specially a giant firework show will take place at 8:13pm~8:36pm at July 1, 2007.
 
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