Letter from Hong Kong

Roderick-Tong---Make-Architects
By Roderick Tong


Roderick Tong with an update on the latest trends and noteworthy market developments in Hong Kong.

Art and design on the rise

Hong Kong has always been known as a financial powerhouse. These days, however, it’s fast emerging as a creative hub for a new generation of artists and designers following a growing number of design events and art venues.

One of the latest hotspots for art is the recently renovated PMQ, which is located right at the centre of the city. The building’s name comes from its previous incarnation as the Police Married Quarters. The complex has attracted lots of attention since its soft opening in mid-April 2014, and much of its success comes down to the mix of designers in residence – among them, they produce contemporary fashion, avant-garde jewellery, and stylish furniture and other product designs. Notably, there are no big-name brands.

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View of the courtyard at PMQ

Going green

There has been a growing awareness of the importance of sustainable development among the general public in Hong Kong.

Although the construction industry is not yet subject to any statutory regulations like in the UK, certification by BEAM Plus, which is largely based on BREEAM, is now one of the prerequisites for being granted gross floor area concessions for certain green and amenity features – an effort to foster a more sustainable built environment. It’s proven an effective measure for promoting green buildings in Hong Kong, with a growing number of developers adopting BEAM Plus to plan and build.

In May 2015 the Environment Bureau unveiled Hong Kong’s first energy-saving blueprint, which aims to cut ‘energy intensity’ – the amount of energy for every unit of wealth created – by 40 percent by 2025. The government is taking the lead in promoting green building development by requiring all major new government buildings to achieve at least BEAM Plus Gold certification. It’s also striving to reduce electricity consumption in government buildings by 5 percent by 2020 and will explore further reductions come 2019/20.

Increasing office supply

Hong Kong’s Grade A office market is about to embark on an unprecedented growth spurt. According to a rough estimation by JLL, at least 20,000,000ft2 of Grade A office supply will be delivered between 2015 and 2024, with a little over half of this coming from government land sales.

The growing number of mainland Chinese companies flocking to Hong Kong has been driving demand in the office market, which is becoming more decentralised rather than relying on traditional core areas. The majority of opportunities for new Grade A office space will be in decentralised areas, the most important of which is Kowloon East. The emergence of Kowloon East as a central business district is being facilitated by the sizable office space supply in Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay and Kai Tak (pictured) – together these areas are poised to offer more than 60,000,000ft2 of office space, which is about three times the size of total office space in Central. Several new infrastructure developments, including the MTR Shatin to Central Link (due for completion in 2020) and the already completed Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, will complement growth in Kowloon East.

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Aerial view of the construction site at the old Hong Kong Kai Tak airport July 26, 2015. This is where new public housing and entertainment centers will be built by 2021.

Roderick joined Make in 2006 and relocated to Beijing in 2009 to focus on our China projects. In 2011 he moved to Hong Kong to set up our office there and oversee the construction of Dunbar Place, Make’s first building to complete in the city.

For more information on anything covered in this post please email comms@makearchitects.com or speak to your usual contact at Make.

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