Snøhetta has revealed its first built project in Hong Kong, Airside, a 176,000 square meters mixed-use building. Located in the center of the former Kai Tak airport, the project commissioned by Nan Fung Group comprises a 200-meter tower merged seamlessly with its base.
The Snøhetta-designed mixed-use building Airside takes advantage of its site and its surroundings, providing views over the Victoria Harbour and Kai Tak River. Situated at a unique and rapidly transforming location in central Hong Kong, the building, imagined as a main gateway to the development, sits on top of the new Kai Tak metro station, in close proximity to other public transport interchanges. Designed as an access door, the project offers visitors admissions “to ample public spaces through a series of exterior plazas and rooftop garden, suited for urban farming, restaurants, events, and recreation”.
Serving as the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998, the Kai Tak Airport was abandoned and replaced by a new and larger one at Chek Lap Kok, 30 kilometers to the west. Through new and recent developments in the area, “the site is transforming into a new Central Business District, a focal point of urban development and commerce”.
Airside includes office space, retail spaces, as well as provisions for a hotel. Inspired by the textile industry marking Nan Fung Group's history, the façade takes on a gently curving composition of fluted glass. Present throughout the project, this concept also appears in the interior space and the landscape. A nod to the development of both the Nan Fung Group and the city, the pattern underlines the occurring transformation, from textile manufacturing and industry to real estate development, finance, and tech.
With intense pedestrian traffic flowing through the metro station, the building’s retail space at the base is designed to support this daily flux. In fact, “the continuous building mass is composed of five volumes that step up from the Kai Tak River and culminate in the tower”. Generating a series of human-scale urban spaces, the unique shape also creates rooftop gardens with views of the Victoria Harbour and the Kai Tak park.
A spacious naturally lit retail atrium of almost 66,000 square meters is located at the heart of the intervention, culminating in a rooftop garden, topping out at 200 meters. Finally, “both the tower and the base gently step down towards the southernmost corner, revealing and connecting the rooftops to the surrounding plaza and riverside promenade”.