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My first visit to Zaha Hadid’s Polytechnic University Innovation Tower, Hong Kong

November 11, 2014

Innovation Tower ext sketch

It was a dull overcast Saturday morning, 8th November 2014, with the skies threatening with thunder showers; my colleague and I entered Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University in search of the much-publicized iconic ‘Innovation Tower School of Design’.



It was not difficult to find, a white, sweeping, non-rectangular edifice standing behind the red-brick linear buildings reminiscent of Kenzo Tange’s 1960s architecture, poised as if ready for a marathon run through the high rise surrounding Kowloon urbanscape.

Innovation Tower site Plan

We found it at the northeastern corner of the campus adjacent to the busy intersection of Chatham Road and the West Kowloon Corridor.

Typical floor plan

Recently completed it has a lecture theatre, 10 classrooms, design studios and workshops, as well as exhibition spaces and several non-functional areas on most floors that seem to default as student lounge areas, for lack of planned functionality.

Innov tower exterior horizontal 2

The Architect, Zaha Hadid explains the philosophy with regards to the dynamic shape and visual impact of the tower:

“The fluid character of the Innovation Tower is generated through an intrinsic composition of its landscape, floor plates and louvers that dissolves the classic typology of the tower and the podium into an iconic seamless piece.  These fluid internal and external courtyards create new public spaces of an intimate scale which complement the large open exhibition forums and outdoor recreational facilities to promote a diversity of civic spaces.”

Innov tower exterior vertical 2

At first we were fascinated by the curvilinear surfaces of the exterior, but as we closely examine the details we realize it was indeed a very difficult building to build. Virtually no two aluminum-cladding panels are the same, not only in shapes but also between surfaces. Must have been a contractor’s nightmare.

Innov tower interior horizontal 2

The ‘iconic streamlined’ shape of the exterior walls that make up the sculptural effect of the tower is interesting to look at beyond the campus. The effect portrays a latent dynamic motion that seems fitting for the nature of the University School of Design that could be inspirational for the students and professors.

Innov tower interior vertical 2

There is no plumb, perpendicular exterior walls, windows, mullions or glazing throughout the building. However luckily the interior partition walls are indeed plumb and vertical.

After three hours of reviewing all the floors we left the building with serious headaches.

  1. Reblogged this on Archi Blog.

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