Office buildings are places of work, dictated by operational efficiency and functional requirements. Since the open plan has given architects the freedom to design buildings that are not dictated by their interior layouts, the typical office building has been a repeated floor plan stacked one atop the other to create maximum efficiency. This has given rise to buildings which appear identical to one another as the exterior of the building is separated from its interior function.
The Hong Kong Science Park, located on the shores of Tolo Harbour, is a new type of development in Hong Kong with offices and other science related functions grouped together within a park like setting. Given such a serene location, how could a new office building for the Science Park serve its purpose as a utilitarian structure while contributing towards the sustainability of the overall development? Can the building become not just an office, but a destination and landmark for the Science Park?
Rather then propose another office block with a green roof on top, our design combines the challenges of sustainability, efficiency and context to create a building that is deeply rooted within the setting of the Tolo Harbour. Instead of setting out to create an iconic building, the iconic form of the design is derived from its functions. The characteristic green roof is derived from the desire to welcome people literally on to the building, thus giving the building its distinctive appearance.
Our design further challenges the notion of repetitiveness as the means to creating maximum efficiency in an office setting. Instead of a simple column and beam structure, the building is supported by two trusses at the perimeter, anchored by a concrete core which serves as the main circulation of the building.
A sustainable building is not only about adding greenery into the design. To design sustainably means to create a building that contributes positively to the environment and locality, one which promotes interaction with the community and will inevitably lead to becoming a landmark destination. Our design moves beyond providing a simple green roof and aims to transform this green roof into the main feature which would allow the building to become an activity node within the overall development.
Environmentally, the green roof minimizes solar heat gain of the building. Allowing each floor their individual access to the green roof further promotes a sustainable lifestyle that encourages interaction with nature. The social benefits of this transforms the green roof into a place of social interaction, creating a place for ideas to be shared and discussed. The building also promotes the use of natural ventilation through a central atrium design.
A central core dictates the overall circulation of the building, aided by the slanted roof which allows access from a natural setting. The building is designed so that the circulation spaces become communal, encouraging interaction amongst the occupants as well as the public who are allowed to enter parts of the building.
TEAM: Joey Yim, Kenneth Ip
PROGRAMME: Office for scientific research and facilities for community engagement
COMPLETION DATE: 2013