HKSAR Government Headquarters is located at the historical site of Tamar, a former naval dockyard. It is an intricately composed Government Complex, integrating three principal facilities: the HKSAR Government Offices, the Chief Executive’s Office and the Legislative Council Complex.
Recalling the city’s traditional spirit of open-mindedness and receptiveness, the architecture of the new headquarters for Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region government takes the form of an overt gesture, a metaphor of an “open door” that also reads as a gateway to Victoria Harbour and a frame for the city rising behind it. At the same time it is urbanistically a genuinely humanistic design: despite its location on a previously isolated site with busy traffic and highways around, the doorway now sits over a barrier free landscaped carpet of green that knits the city together and invites pedestriansto pass through its embrace on their travels from the business district to the waterfront.
The site covers 42,218 square metres, a huge area of land for this downtown district. Open lawns – a rarity in Hong Kong – are bracketed by generous benches and terraces. The two-hectare carpet of green at the centre is a kind of welcome mat for the whole complex, creating a sense of place and organizing the site plan. The landscaped Civic Park, or “Green Carpet”, penetrates the heart of the project linking the city with the waterfront, gives Tamar back to the citizens and brings them right through the heart of Government.Walking through the plaza gives pedestrians as well as building occupants an opportunity to interact with nature at all scales, from low plantings to trees, in a constructed landscape that terraces down to the water. The open green space of this site will connect to the future public park planned for the waterfront; once completed, the network will extend into the Central district and Wanchai.
Above all, it is about the spirit of sharing: how a prime site in the centre of the city could be shared not only by 3 branches of government, but also by the public in such a way that all parties could function without under interference from one another, while at the same time sharing the common attribute of the city, i.e. the harbour and the waterfront. Now it becomes a venue for public events in the heart of the city.
The design concept of the Project embodies four themes:
Openness - "Door always open" Enjoyment - "Land always green" Sustainability - "Sky will be blue" Communication - "People will be connected"
Door Always Open With a grand gesture of opening up the site from the city to the Victoria Harbour, the project is a visual icon projecting the spirit of Hong Kong: a city always open and receptive to new ideas and diverse cultures. The Open Door also symbolizes a city which is justifiably proud of its openness and transparency of governance.
Land Always Green On a human scale the Complex is a civic icon, where greenery takes centre-stage and architecture assumes a supporting role. The Door gives way to nature and lush landscape. The “Green Carpet” that connects the Harbour through the Door leads to a multitude of people-friendly venues, including a sculpture Court, the Legislative Council Garden, an amphitheatre, a floating deck, the Legislative Council Square and the Tamar Corner, all for the enjoyment of the public
Sky will be Blue HKSAR Government Headquarters demonstrates a passionate commitment to embrace a cleaner future, with emphasis on sustainable design contributing to a concerted effort to bring back the blue sky. Disposition of the blocks allows the prevailing wind to penetrate the inner city providing ventilation through the Open Door passage, it also allows solar access to the site from the south, while the stepped heights of the buildings allow airflow mixing and recirculation, channeling wind from higher elevations to enhance air ventilation at pedestrian level. Besides, innovative façade design systems are adopted to achieve sustainability for the development.
People will be Connected The essence of the design for people is on connectivity, dialogue and communication. On a physical level, the design starts with a macro-view of the urban form adopting a strategy that brings on a seamless connection of urban green nodes, from Hong Kong Park to Admiralty Gardens to the future waterfront promenade, making the place and the waterfront accessible to the public with ease and fluidity. To enhance this connectivity, the Legislative Council Complex and The Chief Executive’s Office are located one on each side of the site, on the same axes as the Central Government Offices East Wing and West Wing, flanking the central park area and angled towards the Waterfront to create unity for the whole development, being set in more than two hectares of open, green and freely accessible areas for the public.
On a symbolic level, the design is an iconic gesture to unite the diverse functions of Government, the unfolding architectonic planes symbolizing the desire to make a better city where diversity flourishes with effective communication between people and Government.
HKSAR Government Headquarters does not seek to play an overly symbolic role as a public edifice, but rather functions urbanistically on a daily basis as a vibrant, integral part of the city’s life. In weaving a major public place through its heart and thereby connecting the city with the harbour-front in a celebratory gesture, it is a Government Headquarters with few precedents elsewhere.