Beautiful Buildings and Architecture Spots Around Tsim Sha Tsui
In a city that is known for its breathtaking skyline, Hong Kong is home to countless beautiful buildings and striking architectural feats. Just around our neighbourhood in Tsim Sha Tsui, you can find a great number of works by world-renowned architects and design architects, alongside beautiful, historical buildings that are reminiscences of the city’s colonial past.
Jockey Club Innovation Tower
Just 10 minutes walk from Hotel ICON is the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, home to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design and the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation. Designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, the 15-storey tower does not adhere to the typical typology of tower and podium, and instead adopts a more fluid composition.
The design aims to promote a multidisciplinary environment that connects the various programmes within PolyU’s School of Design. Large windows and voids are designed to bring transparency and connectivity while the circular routes and courtyards throughout the building create communal spaces for interaction and collaboration.
Address: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom
On the famous shopping strip that is Canton Road, one simply cannot miss the colonial-style 1881 Heritage site. Now a retail and heritage hotel complex, the heritage tourism attraction is made up of the Former Marine Police Headquarters (1884 to 1996) and the Grade II-listed Old Kowloon Fire Station (1920 to 1971).
The Former Marine Police Headquarters Compound, which comprises the main building, stable block and a signal tower, is one of the four oldest surviving government buildings in Hong Kong. With most of the original exterior architectural features preserved, this is one of the best samples of Victorian architecture in Hong Kong.
KOWLOON MOSQUE AND ISLAMIC CENTRE
Built in 1984 to serve the Muslim community in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre by IMK Architects is the largest mosque in the city. The traditional Islamic architecture with its dome top, white marble façade and latticed windows contrast the boxy modern commercial buildings nearby, making it one of the most iconic landmarks in Tsim Sha Tsui. Perhaps the most distinctive feature are the four 11-metre high minarets standing at the corners of the building’s upper terrace. Due to its stunning architecture, it has won the Best Design Award at the Aga Khan International Design Competition.
The interior of the Kowloon Mosque is just as ornate and elaborate as the exterior. Inside the main prayer hall, marble-finished pillars support the roof which is embellished with latticework and chandeliers hanging from the domes. As one of the few examples of Islamic architecture in Hong Kong, the beautiful building makes for an unmissable stop for architecture fans.
Address: 105 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Xiqu Centre, sitting at the entrance of the West Kowloon Cultural District, is a purpose-built performance venue dedicated to promoting xiqu, also known as traditional Chinese opera. The striking structure we see today is the winning design of a 10-month long competition created by the Canadian studio Revery Architecture and local firm Ronald Lu & Partners. It was designed to embody the essence of Chinese opera by blending traditional and contemporary elements that reflect the four core design principles fundamental to the art form and Chinese culture— ‘qi’, nature, gateway and pavilion, and courtyard. The concept of ‘qi’ or ‘flow’ is expressed in the fluid movements within the building and the use of curvilinear planes, arched openings and circular paths. For instance, its eye-catching facade, made up of over 10,000 curved metal fins, lights up at night like a lantern behind a beaded curtain.
The concept of gateway and pavilion inspired the open and doorless design that welcome visitors to enter the beautiful building from all four of its corners, while the open public atrium depicts the courtyard element that is integral in traditional Chinese architecture designs. The concept of nature is expressed in a three-dimensional landscape treatment found throughout the complex.
Xiqu Centre offers regular guided tours where visitors can learn about the architectural and design features of the venue, as well as the history of the art form.
Address: 88 Austin Rd W, Tsim Sha Tsui
West Kowloon Competition Pavilion – ‘Growing Up’
Designed by Paul Tse and Evelyn Ting of New Office Works, the Competition Pavilion is the winning design of the Hong Kong Architects & Designers Competition 2017, selected out of 320 submissions. Titled “Growing Up”, the timber structure’s slanted roof is held up by rows of columns which, like seedlings, start small on one end and grow as they branch out to the other side. Inside the pavilion, the stepped seating and performance space take inspiration from Hong Kong’s hilly terrain.
Photo credit: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
From every angle of the timber structure, you can admire the symmetrical and porous design frames overlapping the surrounding greenery and waterfront promenade in different ways, reflecting the rich diversity and multifaceted character of Hong Kong. During sunset, the pavilion offers sweeping views of Victoria Harbour, making it one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city.
Address: West Kowloon Cultural District
HOTEL ICON — A HOTEL UNLIKE ANY OTHER
Behind Hotel ICON’s beautiful building is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent design architects, Rocco Yim. His firm has created numerous iconic buildings in the city, including the International Finance Centre, Hong Kong Station and two upcoming cultural institutions: the Hong Kong Palace Museum and East Kowloon Cultural Centre. For Hotel ICON, Yim took advantage of the prime harbourside location and used an all-glass exterior with glass atria at various levels, opening up the space and allowing an abundance of natural light, offering guests spectacular views of Victoria Harbour.
On top of being a premier hotel, Hotel ICON also operates as a research and training facility for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School and Hotel of Tourism Management (SHTM). That is why when designing the complex, there was the added challenge of integrating the School’s academic facilities and faculty members’ residences into the hotel design. In order to address this, Yim created a cohesive, unified design that caters to the functional needs of both the SHTM and the Hotel, allowing the two to retain operational independence. Next time you visit us, be sure to take a minute to admire the building in all its glory!
Photo credit: Rocco Design Architects