– SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
After a looong travel experience from Egypt through an overnight airport stay in Qatar, we have finally arrived in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is easy to enter as a Canadian, as it was until recently a British extension. Canadians can receive a Hong Kong visa on entry, but the rest of China requires a more detailed process to acquire the visa for entry. We intend to run through this process while in Hong Kong to keep things simple.
After checking into our hotel (which was the 8th floor of a large apartment building. When I asked the check-in person how many floors their hotel occupies in the building she replied with “oh it depends”….what kind of answer is that?) we went for a walk in the area to see the sights of Hong Kong.
In 1978, HSBC decided the time had come for a new building. Large through the 1935 building was, it was now dwarfed by the size and global scale of the organisation it served. Another path-breaking, visionary building was needed. In November 1979, the winner of the design completion for this challenge was Foster Associates. Norman Foster unveiled three schemes for redeveloping #1 Queen Road Central, one of which retained part of the old 1935 building. The choice made was for a radical change.
The resulting building took the world’s breath away, and it inspired the Architectural Review to call it “a cathedral of commerce“. Many loved it while others hated it. No one could be indifferent. Its 48 storeys above the ground, clad in glass and the bank’s signature grey, and wearing its skeleton on the outside, dominated the Central skyline. Beneath it ran a plaza, linking Statue Square with Queen’s Road. Below it, four storeys sank into the earth to house vaults, services and machinery.
The new building was an engineering masterpiece. Many techniques used in its construction had never been tried before. Norman Foster wanted a building capable of “almost infinite variations” with as much unobstructed floor space as possible. In succeeding, his new HSBC headquarters set benchmarks for office buildings everywhere.
Central’s new architectural icon was formerly opened on April 7th, 1986 and provided three times more office space than its predecessor. Like that predecessor, the building led the charge into Central’s future. Within two decades a forest of glittering towers surrounded it.
Next up was a ride all the way up on the world’s longest escalator/travelator. It rides up, then you step off to cross a street, then ride again, then cross a street, then ride again….etc. It wasn’t one long escalator, but rather a series of separate escalators that led upwards the mountainside. It was something you need to experience once in your life.
The walk then took us around the harbour to see the Avenue of Stars and some more water views.
More Hong Kong fun to come!
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.