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Created and Sold by Heatherwick Studio

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Pacific Place - Architecture

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One of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world, Pacific Place is a complex of office towers, hotels and a shopping mall in the centre of Hong Kong that functions almost like a small town. Having opened twenty years earlier there was significant potential for the place to now function better so the studio was invited to undertake the £166 million programme of major improvements which would safeguard its success over the next twenty years. Instead of designing a single large new building, the studio’s work at Pacific Place was the equivalent of designing and building many separate but interrelated projects. The team were being asked to transform the experience and operations, addressing issues of circulation and wayfinding, improving sightlines between floors, introducing a new palette of materials, textures and detailing, and reducing energy consumption. However the studio’s approach was not to treat each aspect as a separate project but instead to create a family of many details guided by a common philosophy. The greatest physical transformation was the reconfiguration of the top of the podium that forms the base of the towers and acts as Pacific Place’s front door. Previously dominated by an access road and barely accessible to pedestrians, it is now an open and attractive public space. Instead of a profusion of glass pyramidal skylights for the mall below, stealing all the space, the studio developed a new form of walkable flat glass skylight treated with a three-dimensional form within its seven layers of glass necessary to create an anti-slip surface. The studio also designed a new flowing stone skin for all the surrounding buildings, a new hotel exterior, a new restaurant and new cafe building.

One example detail developed for the project was the toilet door hinge. Instead of putting square cubicles around the toilets the team enclosed them with a single undulating surface made of wood. And instead of using ordinary hinges they found a way of making a wooden wall that bent without any visible hinge or line. The major work to Pacific Place was completed over a five year period, while managing to keep it open for business the whole time.

Collaborators: BSC, Gammon, G&M Engineering, Andreas Hiersemenzel, Hugh Dutton Associes, Isometrix, Fred Manson, Mode, Ron Wong & Ouyang, Whitton Casting, Yearfull Contracting