In China, Restoring a Hong Kong View

An axis half a kilometer long inspired the parti for a new development in Shenzhen, China.

Running between the Wutong Mountains and Mirs Bay, it’s now populated by a retail, office and residential towers from Hollywood, Calif.-based 5+ Design.

Where views across the bay to the mountains of Hong Kong once were obscured, they’re now very much in evidence.

“The landscape has been pushed to the edge but a lot of things are happening at the center,” says Jay Park, associate principal at the firm. “It’s activated – people come to  the region to enjoy a day at the beach or a day at the park.”

It wasn’t always so. A major government building at the top of the site, along with open space near the waterfront – and a Russian battleship that served as a tourist attraction – rendered it less than ideal.

“They did everything  they could to obliterate the axis opening out to the view of Hong Kong,” he says. “So now we have restored the view and recreated the axis.”

Along the way, they’ve created separate vocabularies for each of four development parcels, but managed to tie them all together too. Timber is the theme at the wooded edge at the top; that gives way to glass with color, and then to fritted glazing that’s reminiscent of water crashing into jetties at water’s edge.

“Closest to the boardwalk are nine to 10 pavilions with luxury restaurants,” he says.”They complement each other, and do not compete – there’s a synergy effect.”

Two of the four parcels are now complete, with a third scheduled for the end of the year. The fourth – an iconic tower on the waterfront – is due to open in 2017.

It’s all meant to be a destination for those who live in the region. “We’re giving the people back their park and the views of Hong Kong Mountains,” says senior designer Abbie Chung. “It begins to pull people into the city and give them  place, a living room, where they can entertain their friends and families.”

And if they look carefully, they’ll be able to read the vistas running along a restored axis, mountains to forest.

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