Snøhetta’s Textile-Inspired Airside Skyscraper in Hong Kong
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Textile-Inspired Airside Skyscraper in Hong Kong by Snøhetta

Norwegian studio Snøhetta has unveiled the stunning Airside skyscraper, a remarkable architectural achievement located at the former Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. Drawing inspiration from textiles and tailoring, the design seamlessly blends functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability.

Comprising five interconnected glazed buildings arranged in a stepped configuration, Airside stands out with its unique shape. The lower volumes, situated adjacent to the Kai Tak River, serve as the base, merging harmoniously with two towering structures, the tallest reaching an impressive height of 213 meters.

Snøhetta's design extends beyond the exterior, encompassing beautifully landscaped plazas and roof terraces that provide residents and visitors with inviting outdoor spaces. Positioned above the Kai Tak MTR station, the district's former airport site, Airside creates a vibrant and captivating public realm.

Inside the complex, the lower buildings host an expansive 60,000 square meters of retail space, while the tower offers 100,000 square meters of office space. Reflecting Hong Kong's rich heritage in textile manufacturing, the project incorporates elements of tailoring into its design.

The building's chamfered edges pay homage to fabric cutting techniques, while the fluted glass facade evokes the graceful draping of fabric. According to Robert Greenwood, a partner at Snøhetta, Airside successfully navigates various scales, from the urban to the human, providing an inviting environment for the thousands who traverse it daily.

Notably, Airside has earned the prestigious LEED Platinum certification, showcasing its commitment to sustainability. It is the first private development in Hong Kong to receive five of the highest green building certifications, a testament to its innovative environmental design.

Inside the structure, a retail atrium boasts spandrels adorned with a custom-designed woven textile, crafted from upcycled plastic bottles. Snøhetta aimed to create pedestrian-friendly spaces with undulating and folding shapes, featuring sloping walkways and multiple plazas throughout the interior.

Airside, which opened its doors in September, prioritizes eco-consciousness with over 1,350 square meters of photovoltaic panels adorning its roof. Additionally, it connects to the Kai Tak District Cooling System, utilizing chilled seawater from a central plant for climate control. Urban farms and a landscape design emphasizing native species further enhance the building's sustainability initiatives, while water features combat the urban heat-island effect.

Snøhetta continues to push boundaries with their architectural prowess, with recent projects including an extension for the Norwegian-American museum in Iowa and an elliptical planetarium in France. Their work consistently celebrates innovation, transformative living spaces, and the fusion of functionality and aesthetics.

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