The Bank of China tower is a striking skyscraper located in the Central and Western District in Hong Kong. It was once considered as the tallest building in Hong Kong as well as in the whole of Asia from 1989 to 1992. It was also the very first building out of the United States that was able to break past the 305 meter or 1,000 ft mark in terms of height. Currently, it is the fourth tallest building in Hong Kong.
Bank of China Tower History
The Bank of China Tower stands on a 6,700 sq. meter site which was the former location of the Murray House, one of the oldest surviving buildings in Hong Kong. The landmark was painstakingly relocated brick by brick to Stanley, south of Hong Kong island in 2000 to give way for the building construction. The site was sold by the HK government for HK$1 billion, almost half the amount of real estate values during that time.
The building was built by the Hong Kong branch of the Bank of China. The intended date of its completion was slated on August 8, 1988. But due to several project delays, the groundbreaking ceremony took place on March, 1985, two years after the intended schedule. The building was eventually topped out in 1989, with the building opening its doors to occupants on June15, 1990.
Bank of China Tower Design Features
the Bank of China Tower was designed by renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei. It adopted a structural expressionism design style that was to resemble bamboo shoots which symbolizes livelihood and prosperity in the Chinese culture. But quite ironically, the design was also criticized by feng shui experts for the extensive use of “X” patterns as well as multiple sharp edges which connote negative symbolism in the practice of feng shui. The tower also went into some sort of controversy since it was the first building constructed on the island that bypassed convention by not consulting feng shui masters prior to its construction.
The tower stands 305 meters or 1,000 feet high. It also has a pair of masts that allows it to reach a height of 357.4 meters or 1,205.4 feet. It is considered as the first composite space frame high rise building. The entire structure is supported by five steel columns located at the corners of the building. Triangular frameworks transfer the weight of the structure into these columns. Glass curtain walls complete the building’s exteriors. The tower is composed of 72 floors above ground with additional 4 floors on the basement.