January 7, 2006
Although I am more of a fan of the nearby Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation tower by Norman Foster, the Bank of China Tower kind of grows on you as the years pass. Designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei and completed in 1989, the 74-story skyscraper has a distinctive faceted exterior that sings when compared to some of its rather bland neighboring shafts.
This landmark tower rises sharply on its site and dominates the landscape, which is exactly the emphatic statement that the client wanted to announce to the world. The main floor plan is a square that is divided into four triangular sections. As the tower rises, the triangular sections drop off one by one until it reaches its spire with only one of these shafts. The very top concludes with a set of antennae. The overall design has been compared to a bamboo shaft. The exterior carries through with the triangular motif, though the patterns look merely laid upon the surface rather than the structurally splendid exterior of Foster’s HSBC. The three-sided shapes and a reasonable attempt at shaping the tower save the exterior from being a banal glass tower.
The interiors are lavishly surfaced with glossy and expensive materials, so you should be impressed by this if not by their average architectural design. Rounded arches do not seem to mesh with the dominating triangular design motif. Thanks to its prominent location near the Victoria Harbour, the tower possesses a free viewing gallery on the 43rd floor. You will enjoy the panoramic views of Central Hong Kong, and in a sense, this is a sneak peek of what to expect at the Victoria Peak lookouts if you have not visited there yet. Take a free brochure and look over the building models on display in the gallery.
The outdoor plaza spaces are frankly overwhelmed by the skyscraper, but have a look at the rock gardens, fish ponds, and other Oriental landscaping that attempt to soften the screeching transition from horizontal to vertical.
From journal Bill in China - HONG KONG