Hong Kong, one of the world’s famous cities, has many faces. As the most prominent site for researchers and journalists, it is also one of the finest places to make money for business and financial communities. Artists, authors, and filmmakers find inspiration and vivid locales in the city’s unique history and dramatic beauty. It features excellent restaurants with spectacular sea views and is every tourist’s delight. Hong Kong is a unique fusion of Eastern and Western ideas, and its history has made it a crossroads for China and the rest of the globe. In the present day, Hong Kong has flourished with a distinctive culture. 

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Architectural Transitions in Hong Kong

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Architecture in Hong Kong focuses on the current of the city’s-built environment, displaying a variety of creative buildings as well as the different materials and unique shapes used in their creation. The city’s architecture reflects the influence of several civilizations at distinct periods. Hong Kong was Britain’s last colony. During the decades after WWII, the people of Hong Kong worked hard to build a vibrant and active international city in Asia. The dense port metropolis served as a model for Greater China, Asia, and the rest of the globe. From 1945 to 2015, Hong Kong Architecture focused on the transition from colonial to global – the creation, mechanism, events, works, and people associated with urban architecture.

In the 77 years after World War II, Hong Kong has evolved from a defensive outpost to an international financial center. The city’s current urban architecture was established mainly during the 1980s and ripened to maturity. From 1946 to 1997, Hong Kong architecture was affected by government policies, local social and technological influences, and products generated by local and expatriate planners, architects, and builders. The architecture of Hong Kong is the outcome of a pragmatic economy and property speculation devoid of political ideology. It is worth examining the independence and originality of its architectural environment. 

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Summary of social conditions, driving forces and outcome of urban architecture in Hong Kong_Q.L.Xue, C., 2016. Hong Kong Architecture 1945-2015.

The port city developed mainly in the nineteenth century. The structures built before the war were demolished as the economy boomed in the 1970s. The structures built after the war largely adhered to modernist ideas and resonated with the Western world’s modern architectural trend in the 1950s. These 1950s and 1960s structures faced threats due to the flood of redevelopment fueled by high commercial gains. More than half of the post-war structures were replaced by new towers. Some buildings in the central business area lasted fewer than 30 years before being demolished to make way for a new generation of skyscrapers. 

Hong Kong’s architectural evolution has stretched throughout several periods, including Victorian, Edwardian, pre-World War II or early modernism, and post-World War II or postmodernism.

Colonial Period: The Victorian & Edwardian Era

Hong Kong’s Colonial Architecture during the Victorian Era refers to the architectural development of the city during the reign of Queen Victoria(1837-1901). The Edwardian era in Hong Kong refers to the colonial architecture that emerged during the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910) and World War I. (1914-1918). Queen Anne Revival (admired from the 1870s through the 1900s) and Edwardian Baroque are two architectural styles emblematic of Edwardian colonial architecture (from the 1900s to the 1910s).

The British Army’s Corps of Royal Engineers – military officials and soldiers skilled in architecture, construction, engineering, and surveying – planned and built many of Hong Kong’s early structures. From the mid-nineteenth century forward, the British introduced Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles. The Legislative Council Building, the Central Police Station, and Murray House are some notable surviving examples. The Hong Kong Club, constructed in 1897 atop a smaller structure designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, has since been destroyed. In the late 1970s, the building was the subject of a fierce heritage conservation battle that eventually failed to rescue it.

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Flagstaff House (1846) – designed and built by the Royal Engineers_https://d1ef7ke0x2i9g8.cloudfront.net/hong-kong/The-Oldest-Western-Building-in-Hong-Kong-that-Exhibits-Tea-12.jpg
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Murray House was built in Central in the 1840s as a British officers’ garrison, before being used as offices by the government’s Ratings and Valuations Department. Twenty years ago it was controversially reassembled in Stanley_https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-leisure/article/3119722/colonial-era-murray-houses-resurrection-hong-kong-20-years

The first skyscraper in Hong Kong was made for Hong Kong Bank in 1935, and it was also the first building in Hong Kong to have air conditioning; however, it was replaced by the HSBC Main Building in 1985. Similarly, despite concerns from heritage conservation groups, Hong Kong’s rare instances of 1930s Streamline Moderne, Art Deco, Stripped Classicism, and Bauhaus architecture, such as the Central Market and the Wan Chai Market, are slated for removal. 

Early & Postmodernism

Public housing estates were hastily built to accommodate the homeless. Initially, they were seven stories high with notoriously cramped conditions, public bathrooms, and no kitchens; meanwhile, private apartments, still tightly packed into city blocks like the Tong Lau of old, had grown to over 20 stories high by the mid-1960s. Mei Foo Sun Chuen founded the private housing estate in 1965. Swire Properties developed the Taikoo Shing middle-class estate in 1972, which was the first large private construction. Taikoo Shing’s design was the new norm, with minimal space spent on monuments or landmarks that took up needless areas. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Hong Kong’s Colonial Architecture was considered a continuous “trend,” broadly separated into two periods: early (1950s-60s) and late (1990s).

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Cantonese Verandah Type Pre War Shop Houses_phat, c., 2008. [image].
The predominant demand for high-end structures in the late 1990s was in and around Central. Central’s skyscrapers make up the skyline along the Victoria Harbour waterfront, a popular tourist destination in Hong Kong. However, until Kai Tak Airport collapsed in 1998, Kowloon had severe height limitations to allow planes to land. These limits have already been relaxed, and numerous new buildings have been built in Kowloon, notably the International Commerce Centre, which has been the tallest structure in Hong Kong since its completion in 2010. 

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Hong Kong is a concrete jungle, but it has some of the most stunning buildings in the world. Hong Kong has everything, from gleaming skyscrapers to ancient, colonial-style courthouses, and the greatest part is that some of the city’s most stunning structures are closer than one might believe. It’s not simple to locate the cream of the architectural crop in a city with everything from historic shophouses and neoclassical monuments to postmodernist buildings. However, here are a handful of Hong Kong’s most stunning structures.

1.International Commerce Centre

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Internation Commerce Centre_ https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/hong-kong/articles/the-most-iconic-buildings-in-hong-kongs-skyline/

Completed in 2010, this 1,588-foot skyscraper in West Kowloon was the fourth tallest structure in the world, standing at 108 stories. It is now the world’s tenth tallest skyscraper and Hong Kong’s highest tower. The tower also houses the Sky100 observation deck, which offers breathtaking port views.

2. Bank of China tower

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Bank of China Tower_ https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/hong-kong/articles/the-most-iconic-buildings-in-hong-kongs-skyline/

The 72-story, 1,034-foot-tall geometric glass and aluminum skyscraper was completed in 1990. It was the first skyscraper over 1,000 feet tall outside of the United States, and it remained Hong Kong’s tallest structure until 1992. I.M. Pei, a renowned architect, built the skyscraper, which is notable for its asymmetrical shape that resembles sprouting bamboo shoots, representing energy and expansion. 

3. Jardine House

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Jardine House is a 52-story structure designed by P&T Architects and Engineers Ltd. with almost 1,700 consistently positioned circular windows, garnering it the unpleasant moniker of ‘House of Thousand Arseholes.

 

Author

Gargi is strong willed, sure of herself and fiercely moral. Whether it’s taking on a challenge at work or striking up a conversation with a friend, she can always be counted on to make the courageous move. Gargi’s drive to create and inspire fuels her every move - at work, with friends and at home. Whether she’s involved in artistic pursuits or problem solving at the office, her creative side always backs her up.

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