Sunday, 12 January 2014

Tower of Cool at PolyU

PolyU's Innovation Tower looms in the skyline at dusk
The other day I had a chance to take a peek inside the new Jockey Club Innovation Tower on the campus of Polytechnic University.

The unfinished stairways have a sculpted look to them
There's no mistaking the building when you see it -- a large white structure that seems to have no sharp angles and feels like it should be in some futuristic community. Oh wait -- aren't universities supposed to be projecting into the future?

It was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid who was the first woman and Muslim to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She describes the fluid character of the building is "generated through an intrinsic composition of its landscape, floor plates and louvers that dissolves the classic typology of the tower and the podium into an iconic seamless piece."

Still unfinished, but the building has undulating waves
While the striking structure is easy to find on campus, getting there is trying as the usually clear signage at Poly U was virtually non existent to get to Innovation Tower even though it's on the map.

However, once you get there, the building -- which still has yet to be finished by March -- is white, clean and open in the foyer. There are temporary exhibitions in this new home for the university's School of Design, and offices, meeting rooms and work spaces upstairs.

We watched some construction workers on the ninth floor putting the finishing touches on a sculpted stairway, and one was periodically blowing dust our way which made us feel like we needed to wear masks!

Inside bamboo scaffolding prove useful here
Nevertheless, it was interesting to see bamboo scaffolding used in the space -- the workers going up and down them like monkeys -- which was a nice Hong Kong touch to the otherwise white space.

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