Hong kong architects describe their public building as ‘a vertical street within a green envelope’
Comprising a 1000-seat multi-purpose arena, an indoor heated swimming pool, a library and a 450-seat community hall, Siu Sai Wan Complex provides leisure and recreational facilities for residents in an urban district of Hong Kong.
A community's charisma exemplifies vividly in streetscape where people interact; daily events happening spontaneously form part of the collective memories of the public. This project is to capture those valuable moments by extending such streetscape in a community building for neighbourhood's interaction.
Memories start with the timber-look aluminium sun-shading screens that march from exterior to interior as a powerful gesture for public exploration.
An atrium, which is designed as a "Vertical Street", is created in the centre of the building where green gardens, platforms, bridges, stairs and escalators spiral up and connect the various functions organized at multi-levels on the two sides in the Complex. The "Vertical Street" allows people to view around and outside the building as they travel, with pocket spaces of varying spatial qualities to encourage spontaneous events taking place and to enrich the liveliness of the building.
The journey continues at street level and with the community via the grand steps at the front entrance and at upper level via the existing footbridge that links the shopping mall and residential buildings across the street.
This "Street" as an uninterrupted urban connector for the community successfully turns an introverted institution into an open architecture and aims to set a new typology for a community complex.
Topped with frosted-glass skylight and provided with horizontal sun-shading slats on the two sides, the atrium is naturally ventilated and lit that dramatically reduces energy consumption. The architects describe this element as a ''Green Envelope''.
Electrical-operable windows, insulated low-E glass and external sun-shading devices carefully designed in response to the solar path further reduce the overall building heat gain in the sub-tropical climate of Hong Kong.
Sustainable design is carried through and integrated in all parts of the Complex: green roof for thermal insulation, rainwater and grey-water recycling for green roof irrigation, solar vacuum tubes for hot-water supply, water-cooled chillers, service-on-demand escalators, photo-sensors for lighting control, energy wheels for HVAC system and environmental-friendly building materials.