Extending the public realm into the sky

Claude Bøjer Godefroy
Partner and Design Director
Henning Larsen Architects, Hong Kong

The design of tall buildings in our megacities is going through an exciting paradigm shift: globally, we are observing new trends towards greater numbers of publicly accessible towers. Tall buildings are increasingly developing features of a semi-public or super-public nature. In addition to this prospect, the elevation of the public realm is driving the creation of new links extending from and towards the city streetscape below. The following presentation examined the development of this phenomenon, categorizing the increasing amount of publicly accessible towers in an attempt to discern an overall trend. Hong Kong offers some particularly unique cases of public spaces above the ground floor; such examples can be understood as reactionary measures to the city’s extreme urban densification. Finally, two nearly complete projects by Henning Larsen Architects were used to demonstrate this premise: The King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Opera Tower in Foshan, China.

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