• Carsten Chow

The Murray

The Murray

Location: Central, Hong Kong

Architect: Public Works Department, redesigned by Foster + Partners

Structural Engineer: Wong and Ouyang

Photography: Carsten Chow and Luke Poon

Spanning 27 storeys and home to government officials, the Murray Building was the tallest government building after construction completed in 1969. Being a former government headquarters building, its position and its placement was not considered, with the building being surrounded by roads on both sides. With the current government headquarters at Tamar Park opened in 2011, the Murray Building was bidded off to be constructed as a luxury hotel in 2010.

Being located next to the Peak Tram Lower terminus, the Hong Kong Park, as well as the central business district, Central, the Murray Building was in great demand to be turned into a luxury hotel. Its conversion commenced in 2013 and was completed by December 2017. The building is now home to The Murray, a 5 star hotel that features 336 spacious suits and guest rooms, 5 dining destinations and a hotel terrace around the beautifully designed and crafted arches.

Foster + Partners was brought in to redesign and convert the old government building into a modern and contemporary hotel, whilst also maintaining and keeping the existing architecture of the building. One particular feature of the building is the meticulously oriented windows that are tilted at a specific angle. These windows allow for adequate amounts of sunlight to enter the building, whilst also maintaining the views that the building has of Central and the Hong Kong Park. These windows prevent excessive sunlight from entering the building by sheltering part of the windows from the bright sunlight Hong Kong gets, 9 months every year.

With the use of gold outlining and white contrast, the building shines out in the bright sunlight, glimmering and showing off its flair in the dense city landscape. When entering the drop off area, you are greeted by a tree that was meticulously preserved by building the terrance and drop off area around it. The terrace wraps around the drop off area, creating a staggered level that brings out the dynamic between the curves and straight lines of the building.

When walking on the terrace, you can see the connecting bridges that are built for hotel guests to walk from the hotel main building towards the outer terrace structure. There, you are able to see the arches which are all preserved from the government headquarter days but still show a sign of longevity and modernity. These arches wrap around the entire structure whilst also sheltering the checkered patterns that lay underneath the building's second base. These lines and curves all come together really nicely, integrating the building into a piece of art, whilst also showing the history that the building has gone through. Walking up the ramp that goes up the interior of the building’s exposed layer, golden fans line the ceiling as you walk up and give a sense of regal and divine-like manners.

The Murray is indeed a piece of art and will be such in the years to come in the booming centre of Central, proving that old buildings and architecture can definitely be turned into pieces of modern day art and wonder.


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