Cubus

Cubism Influence Further Modernizes Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong’s striking Cubus development began with a clear vision. Set within the Causeway Bay, shopping mecca and one of the most densely populated areas of Hong Kong, this vision was to create a landmark building able to differentiate itself through a strong identity and retail lifestyle program.

Impressed by the vision articulated in Treasure Towers — a paper published by Wood Bagot’s in-house vertical retail design research group — developer Great Felicity reached out to Woods Bagot to undertake a 25-storey shopping mall focused on lifestyle and dining.

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Inspired by this focus, Woods Bagot employed ice cubes as a motif in developing its design concept. This translated into giving the tower a Cubist feel with the streetside facade tilted out and stacked to resemble the corners and edges of ice cubes piled up in a tall glass. Woods Bagot also studied ice cubes for their light-emitting and transparent yet opaque qualities. These were transformed into simple geometries such as triangular shapes, using materials such as fritted glass, and applied throughout the building, including in the entrance feature wall and lobby and in the building’s intriguing fragmented facade.

Client

Great Felicity Ltd.

Status

Built

Location

Hong Kong, China

Completion Date

2010

Size

5,640 square meters

Awards

Asia Pacific Property Awards 2011 Best Retail Architecture Five Stars Award

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3rd China Lighting Design Competition 2011 Second runner-up

As with most urban plots in Hong Kong, the site was small, so Cubus had to be ‘inserted’ into the urban fabric. It was elongated towards its primary street elevation to make the most of light and views. By setting back the floorplate at each level, Cubus is able to offer outdoor spaces at different orientations, breaking up the verticality of the building while also providing more flexible and unique retail spaces. Customers are treated to incredible views throughout, whether in the transparent lift shaft on the external face or in any of the many open spaces.

In designing a lifestyle space, Woods Bagot asked ‘How can we contribute to the overall health and well-being of the surrounding community?’ 

The answer is in expanding the availability of space in one of the most densely populated areas of one of the most densely populated world cities. By subjecting the designs to an 8 percent site area setback, Woods Bagot was able to widen the pavement and enrich the walking experience as well as creating micro-climates within the immediate vicinity.

In addition, decks at different levels offer views of the city at all angles, creating spaces of human scale and a sense of calmness that differs from the typical cool curtain wall building in Hong Kong.

The end result is a compact building that has turned what could have been site constraints into realized opportunities.