Weston Williamson designs "kissing towers" for Hong Kong harbour

| 16 comments

British studio Weston Williamson has unveiled a trio of Hong Kong skyscrapers that "kiss" one another, designed to sit on top of a new high-speed railway line.

Proposed for Victoria Harbour, the high-rise complex is envisioned as a cluster of towers with heights of up to 440 metres, all arranged around a landscaped plaza.

The three towers are to feature tapered profiles, which will allow them to touch between the 21st and 25th floors. It is this connection that Weston Williamson describes as the kiss.

"The towers momentarily kiss, creating the main public spaces within the building," explained the architecture firm, whose previous designs include a shape-shifting stadium.

"Beyond this point, each tower recedes to leave three iconic diminishing towers sitting harmoniously in the Hong Kong skyline."

Arcology Skyscraper for Hong Kong by WestonWilliamson
Layout diagram

The project is named Arcology Skyscraper – using a term that combines the words architecture and ecology. It is one of a series of designs by Weston Williamson intended to emphasise the importance of transport-focused architecture.

The complex will encompass housing, offices and retail. It will be located directly above a high-speed rail line – a proposed extension of the new Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the new 88-mile-long route connecting Hong Kong to mainland China.

"The Archology Tower would not be feasible without the high-speed rail link underneath the new towers," said Weston Williamson.

The positions of the towers will help to divide the complex into three zones, creating a total floorspace of 250,000 square metres. Commercial areas will occupy the lower storeys, while residential will be located on the upper levels.



"The form of the building is designed to generate the maximum high quality floor space whilst responding to the unique intricacies of the central Hong Kong site," said the architecture firm.

"At ground level, the three towers form a large central square orientated to Victoria Harbour and an extensive park enhances to the wider urban realm, creating much needed green space along the central waterfront. As the building rises, each floorplate expands incrementally to provide deeper space allowing for greater flexibility in use."

Arcology Skyscraper for Hong Kong by WestonWilliamson
Sketch section

Founded in 1985 by Andrew Weston and Chris Williamson, Weston Williamson has offices in London and Kuala Lumpur. The practice has worked on a number of London infrastructure projects including the Jubilee Line station at London Bridge and the upgrade of Victoria Station. It is currently working on the new Crossrail station at Paddington.

Victoria Harbour is also the location of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+, a new museum of visual culture scheduled to open in 2018. It forms part of the West Kowloon Cultural District, which will eventually comprise 17 cultural venues around a 14-hectare park.

  • spadestick

    Quite elegant.

  • Localeditor

    Apparently, the design was conceived without commission, research and knowledge of Hong Kong. The Express Rail Link is not located in Central on the Island side, which the rendering suggests, but in West Kowloon. According to the project description the concept is unfeasible and invalid that way.

    But probably the design is generic enough to be shifted a few kilometres across the harbour? Seriously, what are we here getting presented here?!

    • vincentius

      You are correct that the express line terminates in West Kowloon. What an architectural gaffe if that’s where the site of the project is. There is, however, land reclamation and construction underway on either side of the convention centre and also undeveloped land where an amusement park currently operates.

      Maybe Dezeen reported the wrong site for this project because I can’t imagine any firm being commissioned a major project such as this would ever render the wrong background.

      • Commodore

        I don’t think Dezeen didn’t do their homework here. Weston Williamson simply put out a fake design to overcome the recession and create some attention.

        The high-speed terminus is on the other side of the harbour and anyone familiar to Hong Kong would know that. The developer states on his own website that there will be no connection between Hong Kong Island and the Express Rail Terminal: http://www.expressraillink.hk/en/project-details/key-information.html

        To be precise, the rendering does not even place the tower in Central, but in Admiralty. That’s too much of a giveaway that these designers have never even been to Hong Kong. Weston Williamson are just making up some **** here. Good luck convincing anyone.

  • Chris MacDonald

    Very elegant, nice.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The layout diagram looks much better than the rendering.

  • Jan Limon

    They kiss with the hips.

    • Kevin

      That bothered me as well. “Belly-bumping towers” is a more apt name.

  • Guest
  • The_Pinchhitter

    These towers look like a rip off of César Pelli’s beautiful two IFC tower just nearby!

  • Factor

    Would you employ an architect who can’t get the site right?

  • so.bonnie

    In a snapshot (not to mention it’s not the correct site), the building really stood “out” of context. It’s not complimenting the current skyline but to stand out.

  • J

    Hardly kissing. More like grinding.

  • Pato

    MVRDV did it first…