Hong Kong’s central business quarter is welcoming a new landmarkt to its skyline. The Henderson office, a skyscraper designed by the team at Zaha Hadid Architects, featuring a never-ending and boldly shaped glass façade, is nearing completion. Located next to the Chater Garden, the IM Pei’s Bank of China Tower and the HSBC building by Foster+Partners, the skyscraper was built on what was then the most expensive plot of land, according to global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, sold for $3 billion (or about $975,000 per square metre).
The plot was first purchased by Henderson Land in 2017 and when the project was given to Zaha Hadid Architects, there was no doubt in their minds it should be an extraordinary project. “With this site, we were very conscious that we had to create something extraordinary and unique, something 21st century and forward-looking. We had the ambition to create a special piece of architecture that would be noticed and make waves around the world”, Zaha Hadid Architects principal, Patrik Schumacher, told Dezeen.
Initially, the skyscraper was said to be finished in 2023 but that deadline hasn’t been respected. However, most of the glass façade – inspired by the buds of the Hong Kong orchid – is now complete. A work of passion, as the 4,000 panels of double-laminated glass share 1,000 different curvatures between them, respecting the legacy of the late Zaha Hadid, who was nicknamed the “Queen of Curve“.
The openings in the façade, which can be seen from far-off, are the location of two open-air balconies which, together with the enclosed sky garden, should make the building “an extension of a public park”, according to Zaha Hadid Architects. To underline that even more, there will even be a running track in the sky garden and an aquaponic planting network which should act as a “biological air-purifying filter”.
Even though the building is making headlines globally thanks to the combination of the very expensive plot and the famous architecture firm working on it, the lease of the offices inside doesn’t necessarily go to plan. According to Dezeen, in September 2023, only half of the office spaces had been let. Some of the tenants are Swiss watch brand Audemars Piguet and auction house Christie’s, names that give an indication of the rent value. The difficulty to rent should, regardless of the price, not come as a surprise, as 13 million square feet of office space in Hong Kong sits empty according to Bloomberg.