Sustainable skyscraper adds a little greenery to Hong Kong
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong, could always do with a little more greenery. With this in mind, Snøhetta's Airside skyscraper will mitigate its glass and steel form with a series of plant and tree-covered terraces and plazas. Additionally, the tower will boast significant energy efficient design, including a focus on natural light and ventilation.
Airside will be situated on the site of Hong Kong's former main airport (hence its name), and boast choice views over Victoria Harbour and Kai Tak River. It will rise to a total height of 200 m (656 ft). To put that into perspective, it'll be a decent-sized skyscraper but not massive, and come in at around half the height of the Empire State Building.
Its overall design will consist of a slightly curved facade of fluted glass designed as a nod to the local textile industry. The main building will also be connected to a smaller tower, along with multiple plazas, rooftop garden areas, and green terraces – some of which will be used to grow fruit and vegetables. The interior will host office space and a hotel, as well as a large retail area.
"The building further offers visitors access to generous public spaces and green gardens through a series of exterior plazas and roof top gardens suited for urban farming, restaurants, events and recreation," says Snøhetta. "At the heart of the building one finds a spacious retail atrium of almost 66,000 sq m [710,000 sq ft] filled with natural light. This central atrium space culminates in a rooftop garden, above which a tower tops out at 200 m [656 ft] containing more than 110,000 sq m [roughly 1 million sq ft] of grade A office space, retail spaces, as well as provisions for a hotel."
Though it's true that a big metal and glass skyscraper isn't going to be environmentally friendly in any real sense – the really sustainable thing would be to build it from wood or retrofit an existing building – Airside will have genuine energy-efficient features to mitigate its carbon footprint.
Bicycle transport will be heavily promoted, local materials will be used in construction, and there will also be a focus on natural lighting and natural ventilation, the reduction of water usage, and rainwater storage, all of which should help it snag the LEED Platinum green building standard it's slated to receive.
Airside is currently under construction, with completion expected in 2022.
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