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New ‘Sky Spaces’ Exhibition Showcases Winning Designs that aim to Humanise Hong Kong’s Vertical Structures

Benoy, the award-winning international architecture and design firm, is pleased to present ‘Sky Spaces’, an exhibition which showcases the work of its designers around the world in the exploration of new spaces in the sky for Hong Kong.

This year Benoy challenged the architectural minds of its global design team to apply Singapore’s planning regulations that promote landscape replacement to create new models ofgreen, high-rise,mixed-use buildings in Hong Kong.The competition is part of the 2nd Annual Peter McCaffery Fellowship; an internal design competition hosted in memory of Benoy’s Global Director.

Vertical cities are a reality of the modern worldaspopulations grow and land becomes scarcer. The ongoing challenge for architects and designers is how to advance their thinking on urban intervention to help shape the high-rise cities of the future. Simon Bee, Managing Director of Global Design at Benoy comments “As our cities get taller and denser, how we humanise these vertical structures and inject great spaces not only on the ground but also at higher levelsbecomes ever more important.”

Supported by Swire Properties, this year’s competition is based ona live site in the new regeneration district of Kowloon Bay; bringing an element of realism to the brief. Entrants were asked to submit designs for a contemporary mixed-use tower, reaching to a maximum of 175m. Assessing height, massing, programme mix, functionality and public realm, the submissions needed to be an inspirational contribution to Hong Kong’s new CBD.

The twist for Benoy’s Fellowship entrants was to embrace the planning principles which have been successful in Singapore to bring forth new thinking for Hong Kong’s future tallbuildings. Overall, the entries showed that highly imaginative, public realm and landscapeenhanced, vertical structures are possible under flexible planning codes such as those in Singapore. With this in mind, Benoy aims to encourage discussion on the planning agenda which currently shapes Hong Kong’s cityscape.

Simon adds “Hong Kong has the potential to be Asia’s ‘Garden City on the Sea’, and with enlightened planning codes and an evolution of the planning agenda, we will surely be able to exploit the potential combination of place, mix, buildings and landscape at every level of the city infrastructure.”

Winning Designs

The Fellowship submissions were judged by an international panel including Benoy’s Global Directorship Team, Swire Properties executives Gordon Ongley and Desmond Ng and Peter Rogers of Lipton Rogers Developments. Two winners were selected as well as two runners-up. The first winning entry is from Jiang Wu, fromBenoy’s Shanghai Studio. Herdesign entitled ‘Cloud Walk’ celebrates greenery, bringing it centre stagewithin thebuilt environment. The landscape that she has developed is intertwined with the building’s façade, creating natural, highly sensory spaces at high levels. The concept behind thesespaces or ‘Vertical Parks’ are a series of multifunctional spaces called ‘Share Boxes’ – adaptable platforms able to support a wide range of programmes from gyms to cafes, meeting rooms to event spaces and more. The concept creates an exciting new shared space, not only for tenants but also for the general public,allowing great views and high quality spaces to be enjoyed by everyone.

The second winning entry is from a duo – Jess Wilkinsonand Clarissa Wenborn,both working in Benoy’s Newark Studio in the UK. Their collaborative design, entitled ‘Street in the Sky’ elevates the principles of a streetscape to higher levels in the form of a ‘Street Box’. The concept introduces an element of horizontal movement in an otherwise vertical format and helps encourage social interaction through a vibrant mix of public functions. The ‘Street Box’ includes a sky park, restaurants, bars and a conference centre, with each of these amenities benefitting from the views of the city, mountains and harbour.

“What we saw in the winning entries were two very unique and thoughtful interpretations of the brief which celebrate creativity, practicality and the human experience within a building; an approach we are pleased to support” said Gordon.

From Benoy’s network of studios across the world, there were a total of 42 submissions from 65 entrants, some in teams of two,to this year’s Fellowship. For the winners and runners-up, the competition presented the chance to visit theiconic high-rise cities of the world to investigateinternational best practice. The winners received £7,500 (HK$88,500) to travel anywhere in the world and the runners-up, a two night trip to Tokyo, Japan to explore tall building design.

The ‘Sky Spaces’ exhibition will be held on 15 and 16 June 2016 at the Fringe Club’s Anita Chan Lai-ling Gallery in Central. Following this,the exhibition will move to ‘The Link Bridge’ at Lincoln House in Taikoo Place from 20 June to 1 July 2016.

Project Credits
Bivouac Zoran Šimić
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Bivouac Zoran Šimić

Mountain Visočica, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Build completed in 2019
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