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Merit - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

The University of Chicago in Hong Kong

The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus and the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex
The University of Chicago in Hong Kong - The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus and the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex
Jury Comments
“. . . seductive insertion and addition on an extremely challenging site to create an iconic building that takes full advantage of views and topography . . . integrates existing buildings . . .”

Highlights

    • Site – 69,200 sq ft; Building – 52,900 gsf / 27,000 asf
    • The building’s capacity was maximized at 488 with dedicated shuttle bus service to minimize traffic impact.
    • One of the client’s key pledges in obtaining a government land grant was to make open space on the site available for public use.
    • The architectural form blends into the contour of the hillside in a highly responsive manner.
    • Through careful control of the building height and wise selection of envelope materials, the new building is visually light and does not overpower the natural surroundings or heritage elements.

Perspectives

The University of Chicago’s new satellite campus is part of the university’s mission for international, interdisciplinary education, research, scholarship, and community engagement. Situated on a steep, heritage-protected hillside, the building’s design was inspired by the site’s challenging topography, its magnificent panorama across the sea, and the scattered remnants of its past as a former military facility and, in later years, a detention center. The resulting design carefully weaves the new program around the challenging site, touching down only at points of least intrusion.

Respecting the site’s steep topography and the treehouse concept of the architectural design, a mini pile foundation was adopted for its minimal impact on existing contours. Supporting columns were engineered to a slender diameter, gently “floating” the building over the heritage buildings and surrounding natural landscape. A steel framing system was adopted for use of long span structures to minimize the number of columns in both the interior and exterior areas. The fluid curvilinear form, accentuated by generous glazing,  “floats” lightly over the memory laden masses of the heritage buildings and the site’s dense foliage.

Since development of the campus involved changing the land use from “Residential to Educational Institution,” it necessitated extensive public engagement and consultation prior to the application to authorities. Detailed land-use analyses including visual, traffic, landscape, heritage, geotechnical, drainage, sewerage, and environmental “were carried out to ensure to mitigate any adverse impact on site.” With a 28m elevation difference from northeast to southwest, the steep terrain posed an immense challenge to siting and construction of the new facility. The innovative decision to float a single-story bridge above the heritage buildings ensured minimum disruption to the site while enabling ongoing site operation and staging during construction.

Project Team

Revery Architecture; also ARUP