The Hargreaves Associates design for One Island East in Hong Kong creates an urban plaza that bridges the competing open space and circulation needs of a commercial office tower with 15,000 workers with adjacent high density residential housing of 50,000 residents. Hargreaves Associates created a flexible program that provides a range of open space within the landscape. A plaza with artesian fountain at the base of the new office tower serves the business needs of the commercial tower, and a park-like setting with cascade fountains provides for the residents of the towers. Large terraces create connections between the commercial and residential towers.
The design implements a formal language of subtly shifting rhomboids to provide structure to the site and negotiate a significant grade change from one end of the terraces to the far end of the plaza. The irregular form of the rhomboids shape the overall form and the subtleties of the site, adeptly transitioning the grades through the stepped structures. As the grade moves irregularly through the plaza, sloping away on one side and remaining constant on the other, the rhomboid unifies the spatial experience of the site. At each of the rhomboid forms cascade fountains pool water at the top of the plaza and send the flowing water over a series of illuminated granite knife edges into basins at the base of the forms. Step terraces border the cascades and create seating, which complements a wide range of built-in seating across the site. The lower part of the plaza provides the garden like setting with lush tropical vegetation and water elements, creating a passive recreation space for the residents at the plaza.
The design incorporates complex details within the plaza, including curving hardwood benches that are illuminated with internal LED lights, and a cantilevered granite bench that peels off from the groundplane. The design also incorporates a series of fountains that integrate the landform structures and plaza with the movement of water. At the entrance of the new office tower, Hargreaves designed an artesian interactive fountain that can be programmed to create different water and lighting effects. Another fountain takes the form of an egg with large, black granite bars spaced apart. Between the bars, white water spray completes the overall form. This entry area of the new commercial tower can be used for exhibitions of all kinds for the towers. Hargreaves Associates successfully designed a plaza space in Hong Kong that is flexible, allowing the needs of a commercial tower with the more intimate scale of a residential urban landscape.
These discrete landscapes present rarified, cogent ideas at the scale of the garden and small urban plaza. With specific programs and a finer grain of detail, these smaller projects are not laboratories for larger projects, but a distinct part of the firm’s practice. Programs on these sites are less far-reaching than large parks, but are still complex, and typically require several types of spaces within the design. Plazas of display are integrated with more passive, contemplative areas for shaded sitting while vibrant fountains coexist with horticultural gardens. In each of the projects the local conditions inform the overall narrative of the design as well as the materiality of the landscape features and plantings. Custom details of fountains and benches further define the identity of these places, creating strong designs with distinct design language. Smaller projects offer immersive landscape experiences with finely tuned choreographies of movement and perception.