Hong Kong by Gehry
September 15, 2011
All photos: Swire Properties
Work on Frank Gehry’s first building in China is expected to be completed next year. The 12-story residential complex, which will feature just 12 apartments, will likely set records for the city’s highest rents. More after the break!
The project, dubbed Opus Hong Kong, will crown a small hill in Hong Kong’s Peak area, a highly exclusive neighborhood which was once the terroir of officials and heads of state before it was given over to the likes of industrial tycoons, and now, celebrities. Located at 53 Stubbs Road, the apartment block will house huge 6,000 square-foot units, each with large balconies and panoramic views of the city and Victoria Harbor.
The design is characterized by Gehry’s propensity for billowing curves usually rising from a platonic base, which functions in counterpoint to the splined surfaces while resolving the awkwardness of those free forms meeting the ground. In the case of Opus Hong Kong, the curves, which at Gehry’s recently completed Beekman Tower, ahem, “New York by Gehry” at 8 Spruce Street in Manhattan act in a similar fashion, create formally distinct enclaves of programmatic space radiating centrifugally from circulation cores. For example, the master bedroom of one unit may be sequestered in a “bubble” wrapping around the southeastern corner, while smaller cubbies nearby accommodate a study and den.
Gehry claimed in 2009, when the initial designs were released, that the curves did not actually yield increases in construction costs, as most believe. Though he views his designs for Hong Kong as “modest and appropriate for the market,” developer Swire Properties, which has owned the property for nearly a century, clearly sees otherwise. As the company’s Chief Executive Martin Cubbon put it, “We haven’t set a price yet, but it is fair to assume it to be the highest in Hong Kong … record-breaking.” Currently, an apartment of similar size fetches nearly HK$400,000 per month. Couple those excessive dimensions with Gehry’s signature, and you’ll have deduced your chances of living here to nil.
According to Gehry, the plan was inspired by a bauhinia flower.
[via The Wall Street Journal]