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Imposing Sustainable 28-Storey Tower in Hong Kong: 18 Kowloon East

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18 Kowloon East is a massive tower integrated in the skyline of Hong Kong, designed by Aedas and serving various space and living purposes. According to the architects, “the project is a 28-storey mixed-use building with offices, retail spaces and a car-park. With the building located in a community with dense industrial blocks, instead of providing another office tower entirely wrapped in a coolly glazed skin, the design investigates the possibility of providing an environmentally sustainable design in such an industrial area. A design with efficient office floor plates and a rational box were requested by the client. With ‘green’ as the theme, the final design introduces extensive planting at the car-park floors located at the lower portion of the tower. In addition to the visually greening effect to the neighborhood, the planting also filters the air and improves the air quality within the car-park. Hopefully, the suspended particulates in the air can be reduced and the design is able to provide car-park users a more pleasant experience“. How would you comment on this building’s design, considering its context?

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Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light

What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests

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