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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Forest of Intellects

Info & Images: Courtesy the architects

New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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The New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon is a green building that ingeniously plays with a sloping site and beautifully binds the multifarious functions of a university building.

The role of an architect in shaping our built structures and facilitating a man-environment responsive ratio is tremendous, to say the least. Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners’ concept for the new teaching and administration building of the City University of Hong Kong in Kowloon is a marvellous bridge that ushers in a green cover, resourcefully augments a sloping site and fulfils a vast programmatic with a simple equation.

 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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Four key principles drove the architect’s design solution when working with the site parameters of location and height for a tower: forming a strong connection between the remote dormitory sector uphill and the campus centre downhill; erecting a green deck across the sloping site to recover the greenery; embedding sustainable design to create a green icon against the backdrop of Lion Rock; and elevating the ground plane to enhance permeability and natural environment at street level.

 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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Covering a total floor area of 37,300 square meters, the 20-storey landmark in the centre of the University is a visual treat with its floating green cover.  The green deck connects the dormitory in the northern campus to the university core, and grows from two to four storeys as it progresses toward Cornwall Street.

 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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Beneath the open park at roof level, the podium, known as the “Forest of Intellect” - a space that encourages informal gatherings, accommodates teaching rooms and a 600 seat lecture theatre at its southern tip. By raising the podium above ground level, pedestrian access from the street to the park beyond also gives the public a greater natural resource to enjoy.

 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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At 12 storeys above the podium, the tower is the tallest structure in the area and is visually divided into two complimentary parts to minimize the impact of its mass, but also to programmatically separate its functions between teaching labs at the low levels and administrative offices at the higher levels, which are also flanked by two sky courts offering prime views of the city skyline.

 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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 New City University of Hong Kong at Kowloon by Ar. Ronald Lu & Partners.
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More than just functional facilities, the new building has given the university an iconic new centre with a new prominent Green Heartland in such a high-density community. The building is fully equipped with rain-water harvesting, waste-water management systems, energy efficient mechanisms and the like into place.  Intelligent landscaping with insitu and high ecological value trees contributes to the environment, while more than than 50% of modular and standardized design used in this project to minimize material waste and reduce the adverse impact to the existing City University campus and the surrounding area. 

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