Mega feats of engineering
Enterprise Square Five, the site of Megabox, and The Hong Kong Science Park have both garnered praise from The Hong Kong Institute of Engineers – but where will the next innovative developments spring from? Lucy Davis reports
The Hong Kong Institute of Engineers (HKIE) recently presented two developments with awards for their daring structural approach – MegaBox and The Hong Kong Science Park.
Siu Yin Wai & Associates, also the engineering force behind such upscale residential creations as Manhattan Hill and The Vineyard, scooped the joint structural division special award for Megabox, West Kowloon. Meinhardt China’s comprehensive development at The Hong Kong Science Park, Tolo Harbour, meanwhile, earned them top honours.
While there has been some criticism leveled at Megabox – the sheer size, for one, makes it a tad impersonal – the world’s tallest shopping mall is nevertheless a striking piece of architecture, neatly housing numerous shopping, dining and entertainment facilities under one roof, including Hong Kong’s first international-sized ice rink and IMAX Theatre.
It was the second phase of development at The Hong Kong Science Park that caught the HKIE’s attention. It adds leisure and business activity facilities to the park, including convention halls and business centres as well as an amphitheatre, auditorium, food court, fitness centre and outdoor swimming pool. A shining hub of innovation that has successfully united people and technology, development at the park is set to continue, with phase three scheduled for completion by 2012.
So what can we expect next from Hong Kong on the engineering front? The biggest area of development at the moment is of course the West Kowloon area, now expected to be operational by 2011 and proposed to feature three theatres and a performance venue as well as four museums. If the engineering of the project is carried out successfully, it may well attract the attention of the institute, but as the project continues to be harangued by delays, this remains to be seen, at least for the moment.
Other notable plans include the Sheung Wan Fong revitalisation project, which aims to create a new hub for community activities in the Western Market and Morrison Street area. The focal point of this development is the construction of a multi-purpose public square – Sheung Wan Fong. The footbridge linking Western Market and the Sheung Wan Gala Point will also be revamped.
On a smaller scale, perhaps the HKIE should keep an eye on Mongkok, as the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and Hong Kong Playground Association (HKPA) recently invited property developers to tender for the Macpherson Indoor Stadium redevelopment project in this district. The project will cover an area of approximately 26,000 square feet and will deliver a modern indoor stadium and a youth centre, in addition to about 206,000 square feet of residential and commercial floor area.
Looking much further into the future (work won’t be finished until 2021), ambitious plans to redevelop the industrial landscape of Kwun Tong are also in the offing. This will space out buildings and widen streets to maximise views and air ventilation. Residents will be provided with access to thoughtfully landscaped green space, and spacious shopping streets. Finally, a welcome breath of fresh air.