Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic
University by Zaha Hadid Architects


Hong Kong-based architecture photographer Edmon Leong has sent us a set of exclusive photos of Zaha Hadid's nearly-completed Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (+ slideshow).

The 76 metre-high building, located on the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus close to Hung Hom station in Kowloon, is being built to house the institution's design school.

Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic University by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image copyright Edmon Leong.

Providing 120,00 square metres of space for 1,800 students, faculty and staff, the project is part of a strategy to turn Hong Kong into a leading design hub in Asia.

The building is conceived as a variant of the tower-and-podium typology, with the concrete podium and the louvred tower visually united by flowing forms.

Zaha Hadid Architects were appointed to design the building in 2008. "The Innovation Tower design dissolves the classic typology of the tower and the podium into a seamless piece," Hadid said at the time. "The design unashamedly aims to stimulate a vision of possibilities for the future whilst reflecting the history of the institution."

Innovation Tower at Hong Kong Polytechnic University by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image copyright Edmon Leong.

Hadid first came to international prominence in 1983 for a project designed for Hong Kong - a hilltop spa and leisure club called The Peak that was never built.

"I am delighted to be working in Hong Kong again," Hadid said when the Hong Kong Polytechnic University project was announced. "The city has such diversity in its landscapes and history; this is reflected in an urbanism of layering and porosity. Our own explorations and research into an architecture of seamless fluidity follows this paradigm so evident in Hong Kong."

She added: "One of our seminal projects was designed for the city exactly 25 years ago, and the Innovation Tower design is a realization of this continued research."

All images are copyright Edmon Leong and used with permission.

  • George

    AND her buildings cost significantly more than any other.

  • morgs96

    It was so much better as a rendering!

  • Why are there never any interior shots of Zaha Hadid’s designs?

    • Alex

      Because its not finished and the guy photographed it for his own pleasure?

      • Tsukiyo

        This building is not open to the public yet. Although I’m not a fan of Hadid, I’m very excited I get the privilege to have a tour inside the building in two weeks time. I hope this building will change my view on Hadid (probably not).

    • studiosites

      would YOU go in there?

      • Tsukiyo

        Well, you won’t know what is horrible/good, unless you visit it yourself.

    • Purple

      I just went there yesterday… you may wanna see interior photos here:

    • Sundial

      I visited Guangdong Opera House last year. Apart from the fancy mug-shot interior images, there are places that are wilful and some are true disasters, ie. architects that don’t care but push ahead anyway. Try this:

  • KHO

    I’d be interested to see what the interior looks like. After all it is a building that is used not just looked at.

  • recon::decon

    The second image really demonstrates where this project fell apart in the translation from screen to reality. A simple but abstracted conceptual design turns into a messy and unrefined collision of disparate elements once real work parameters are put in place.

    The real problem here, as with most Zaha projects, is the severe lack of editing.

    There are so many elements going on with this project: from the overall formal plan geometry, to the over-articulated elevations, to the fussy detailing, to the ceiling that becomes a wall, louver and wall again.

    It is too much all at once, but I guess that speaks to the smartphone always-connected generation.

    • visiondivision

      It is not only speaking to our generation. This is architecture, no matter what functionalists say. It is a reflection of our chaotic, image loving, always-connected, careless and overstressed at once smartphone generation.

      • designobot

        Well said. It is everything and anything. As with the ability to show and say whatever you want through social media, this is built with the freedom to make and say anything.

  • Napoleon

    Looks just like those shoes she made!

    • JBLNS

      Surely does. Many of Zaha’s projects are grouped into “suites” of work, rather like the great classical musicians. One idea drawn out into every possible permutation. Rather brilliant I feel!

  • Man

    Creating a form, or an image that she likes is more important than function, architecture, or the people who inhabits it.

  • )eroen

    I look forward to the moment they take these messy bands of white tape off all the glazing panels.

  • Leiurus

    It gives the feeling that the design has been developed from two 3D rendering software camera angles only. All the other views are a mess, as mentioned by recon::decon (and I’m not a Zaha hater at all, I actually enjoy some of her works).

  • aye aye

    I wonder how this building is going to age (rhetorical question).

  • Jonathan

    Zaha Hadid’s buildings never look like happy in the context they happen to be built in. They appear to me as purely intellectual exercises, already dated in their myopic, discordant futurism.

  • studiosites

    I’m not gaga over Zaha.

  • Delsalle


  • Jess Thinkin

    Would like to have seen it during its ‘framing’ stage. I can imagine the structure was a tour de force. Of course it’s idiosyncratic, all her work is. Sometimes you are the foil and sometimes you are the backdrop for the foil. She demands to be the foil!

    • Man

      There’s nothing tour de force about this kinda structure – it’s called throwing enough steel into the structure until it stands up – inefficient ill-considered dumb brute force.

  • Kenneth Smythe

    A deformed mutilated expression of architecture. Looking at this building is painful.

  • DaBronxY

    I like this project, however I feel that the ripples are all over the façade and not organize to a sense of readable shapes.