Archive for September, 2011
There’s always something nice about getting high. Wait, let me start that again.
Whenever I can, I like to get high. No, no that’s not it.
It’s not everyday that your hotel room has five numbers in it.
This was indeed the case when I recently had an opportunity to spend a few nights at the new Ritz-Carlton, perched atop Kohn Pedersen Fox’s International Commerce Center in Hong Kong.
Even though I know the city pretty well, the new views were mesmerizing. The chance to set up a few cameras recording time-lapse sequences of the constant activity on the harbor was too good to pass up.
Breakfast on the 102nd floor provided stunning view across to Hong Kong Island. I could have stayed there all day but more earthly endeavors beckoned, albeit from several hundred feet below.
In our ongoing documentation of the tower for KPF, we were looking to capture new views of the canopies above the building entrances. Using the dramatic overhangs to frame views of the Hong Kong skyline reinforced the central position of the building within the bustling harbor.
While scouting out the locations, I noticed in the ashtrays, a few stylistic similarities to a previous project by the same firm we had photographed, albeit at a somewhat smaller scale. Referencing the original circular design of the aperture, of course.
Shanghai World Financial Center
Another angle I was looking for was an overview from Hong Kong Island. “Looks like rain” warned my assistant Mr Wood as we plodded along the path to our vantage point. “Unbeliever!” I retorted, quickening my pace and casting a furtive glance up through the trees. “What could possibly go wrong?” We set up early, in anticipation of a glorious sunset, which unsurprisingly, given the thickening clouds, didn’t happen.
With the building disappearing completely at times behind the rolling cloud, we hung out as the scene darkened. Then just as the lights of the city came to life, an opening in the western sky gave us the bright reflection we needed to make our project jump out across the harbor.
Ominous, fat drops began to dot the pavement around us as we quickly packed the bags and dashed back down the trail to shelter. Twenty steps from the taxi rank, the long awaited thunderstorms let loose . “That was close..” observed Mr Wood, as we headed home in the downpour.
“Unbeliever!” I smiled.
In land-strapped Hong Kong, expanding an already sizable school campus can be a tricky affair. The Singapore International School in Hong Kong worked with Singapore-based MKPL Architects to arrive at an innovative solution to that problem. The design involved renovation of an existing structure and its incorporation into a new wing of classrooms,library and performance spaces.
Carving out a void in the center of the mass provided open space for various assembly and class activities while taking advantage of the coastal breezes to provide cross ventilation throughout the twelve levels. To create the internal spaces, a number art studios, a recreation plaza and a full size gymnasium were hoisted up on columns, creating a new visual icon of the school within the surrounding community.
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Following on from our work on the award winning Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, architects Leddy Maytum Stacy commissioned us to create a short video piece to accompany an article in Architectural Record August 2011 issue. Though not our first foray into motion, this was certainly a wonderful opportunity to tell the story of the architecture from the perspective of those people who use it everyday.
The five minute cut of the film can be seen here in full HD.