This asymmetric, wavy monolith is the first building in Hong Kong from architect Zaha Hadid’s British studio. The Jockey Club Innovation Tower will house up to 1,450 design students from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “We wanted it to have a unique form and geometry, but also fit into a tight space, so the design was purposely tilted and warped,” says project director and architect Woody Yao.
The inspiration? Sibling rivalry, explains Yao: “One of the campus’s tallest buildings is right next to ours, so we had to match that.”
The 76 meter wide concrete and glass building has 15 floors and was built over a 1,500 square meter area, bordered on three sides by a football pitch, a swimming pool and a busy flyover. “The slope of the building follows the curve of the road: it’s almost like a bird lifting off from the ground, sloping as it goes higher,” says Yao, 49. Gigantic aluminum fins wrap around the exterior, tailing off into a paneled atrium that shades the front entrance. They were fabricated in sections at a factory in China, then galvanized and assembled on-site. The team began work in 2009,and the building opens this month. It will contain a museum, a gallery, studios, and labs for product, automobile and fashion-design students.