Rocco Design Architects designs a new urban retail experience for Hong Kong
This project explores a new concept of urban rejuvenation in a contextual juncture where specific elements are selected and heightened for new architectural expressions. The new building displaces the original hotel function – the 40-year-old former Hyatt Regency Hotel, which has faded with the passage of time, but expands its retail element which now takes the centre stage.
'iSquare', as it is now called, pioneers a unique Hong Kong typology where retail activities are daringly stacked up vertically to 24 storeys in the glitzy Tsimshatsui commercial area. With approximately 53,000 sq m of gross floor area the new retail space comprises of 3 major components - retail shops, restaurants and an IMAX theatre complex, offering retail excitement unexperienced before.
The design concept places emphasis on the fluidity and transparency of the spatial arrangement to induce movements. The podium portion is deliberately set back on the south to create a civic gathering plaza at the main entrance that lures pedestrian patrons to permeate through the new building. The new retail experience extends up the full height of the building via a series of interlocking sky-atria that orchestrate spatial tensions in stratifications within a new dynamic space. Forces of fluidity and transparency are manifested through the interplay of escalator systems in the glass box voids that are strategically placed along the transparent Nathan Road façade as sky bridges to mirror people’s movement on the streets below.
Apart from the sky atria, a large portion of the podium façade is cladded with opaque curtain walls integrated with warm LED lights. This glowing lantern effect blends well with the existing neon-covered streetscape of Nathan Road at night but yet remains visually distinctive. At the northern end of the building, a 12-storey Gourmet Tower housing the food and beverage outlets is orientated to capitalise on the panoramic view of Victoria Harbour. South-facing dining terraces at high level captivate light and air as well as the mood of the city in a new dimension.