Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Structure: Lippo Center
Location: Admiralty, Hong Kong
Height: Tower 1 - 186m, Tower 2 - 172m
Architect: Paul Rudolph
Structural Engineer: Wong & Ouyang (HK) Ltd.
Main Contractor: Hip Hong Construction
Photography: Luke Poon, Carsten Chow
Located in the heart of Admiralty, at first glance, the Lippo Centre seems to be nothing more than another office complex in Admiralty. Upon taking a closer look, the building which closely resembles koalas climbing up buildings, has become a staple in souvenirs and panoramas of the Hong Kong skyline. Designed by American architect Paul Rudolph and completed in 1988, the Lippo Centre consists of 2 office towers, one being 46 floors and looming at 186 meters tall, while the other boasts 42 floors and towers at 172 metres tall. Being commissioned by the Bond Corporation, construction of the building began in 1986 and the building was completed in 1988. Originally called Bond Center, it was renamed to Lippo Centre in March 1988, the name which it still holds to this day.
Lippo Centre has been at the pinnacle of offices in Hong Kong since the mid-80s, housing several foreign consulates and representative offices including Ireland, Turkey and Taiwan. The complex is accessible by the main terminus of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system, connecting it to the Tsuen Wan, Island, South Island and future East Rail line expansion. Adjacent to the centre is a bus terminus with the High Court, Pacific Place Mall, and Central Business District being within walking distance. Several famous buildings like the Bank of China Tower, which was designed by I.M. Pei, and the HSBC Headquarters, which was designed by Norman Foster, both architectural feats in their own right, are also located nearby. Future developments including one by the firm of Zaha Hadid which replaces the Murray Road car park Building will be located in the vicinity of Lippo Centre.
Spanning over 90 floors in total and covering over 1.3 million square foot of office space, Lippo Centre does possess a myriad of architectural features. Locals who commute along the iconic buildings often refer to Lippo Centre as the ‘Koala Building’ due to its distinctive pattern that extends up the floors of the two towers. The layout alternates across the floors of the towers and changes the design of the building with every ‘Koala’. Both of the towers look identical from afar but are in fact different in many aspects. Including the fact that the second tower is 14 metres shorter than the first one. The towers both have the iconic Lippo logo proudly placed on the black highlighted top floors of the building.
Other than giving the building aesthetic prowess, the ‘Koala’ design of the building allows a more flexible and versatile footprint for the tennent. The parts of the building that resembles a koala, juts out and allows a greater view of the surroundings, expanding the usability of the space, and increasing the value of such units.
When pedestrians pass by the building at ground level, The massive grey pillars that protrude out from the ground, seemingly allow the two towers to hover above the centre atrium. Whilst these pillars might not seem special to the average passer-by, they actually serve a greater purpose by being one of the few buildings in Hong Kong that have gigantic weight bearing pillars exposed to the humid climate of Hong Kong. The grey pillars that hold up the building actually have hydraulic pumps inside of them. This unique design allows for a decrease in the number of supporting pillars needed and can protect the building in the event of a natural disaster.
Lippo Centre is connected to its surroundings by countless walkways and bridges allowing for easy access to and from the buildings. The centre atrium of the buildings faced the bustling highway where pedestrians and natural light can penetrate into the heart of the structure. The towers are covered with a reflective glass which creates a perception that the buildings are blue as it reflects the colour of the sky.
Still standing to this day, Lippo Centre has become an iconic building in the Hong Kong skyline, with unique features both internal and external. No matter how much the vibrant city changes over the years, this iconic complex will stay a constant to the cityscape of Hong Kong.
Lippo Centre (2021) Lippo Centre , Available at: http://www.lippocentre.com.hk/html/home.php (Accessed: 6 April 2021).
Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation (2020) Bond Centre (Lippo Centre), Available at: https://www.paulrudolphheritagefoundation.org/198406-lippo (Accessed: 6 April 2021).
Wikipedia (2021) Lippo Centre (Hong Kong) , Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lippo_Centre_(Hong_Kong) (Accessed: 6 April 2021).