Hong Kong – Rocco Design Architects Associates Ltd (RDA) has announced the design of a new academic complex for the Faculty of Business and Economics at Hong Kong University.
Embracing the university's ethos, the design creates spatial and programmatic loops that encourage the holistic cultivation of mind, spirit, and body. The design incorporates a curving set of buildings onto a triangular plot tucked between two winding roadways that descend a steep hillside in Kennedy Town on the western tip of Hong Kong Island. The building meets the intersections of the roads with a long and low volume that carves out a pedestrian plaza and climbs the hill, culminating in a tower that establishes a defining presence in the area.
The new academic hub combines a stack of programs combining spaces for undergraduate and postgraduate students with faculty offices, athletics centers, and conference facilities. At the centre is the Ideas Forum, a commons lined with casual seating that fosters chance encounters and the exchange of ideas.
An expansive staircase rises from the Ideas Forum and leads to the postgraduate teaching facilities, housed in a curvilinear form that traces the contours of the hillside. Flanked on one side by the Scholar's House and on the other by a conference centre and undergraduate residence tower, the postgraduate facilities define the edges of the central plaza and funnel circulation through it, filling the square with activity.
Athletics facilities, including tennis courts and gymnasiums, are incorporated throughout the plan, and a secluded nature walk anchored by Lily Pond extends the surrounding landscape into the learning complex and connects it back to Kennedy Town.
Each of these spaces is conceived as parts of three interconnected loops that encourage the holistic cultivation of mind, body, and spirit. The first – the Spiritual Loop – treats interconnectivity between spaces for learning, athletic training, and individual contemplation as equal components of a comprehensive student experience.
The second loop is the Spatial Loop, enhanced by carefully designed connections linking diverse spaces conducive to generate mobility, encounter, and interaction.
The third loop is the Green Loop, which invites the surrounding landscape into the campus to create a soft edge, blur boundaries between built and natural environments, and provide a healthy environment that energizes the mind and spirit.