The AIRSIDE is a flagship development in the Kai Tak area in Kowloon East, Hong Kong’s next-generation CBD. With cutting-edge smart and sustainable solutions, the iconic landmark redefines the future of urban living.
The development consists of two towers of 200m and 90m with a 6-level podium and 4 levels of basement offering spaces for office, retail, leisure and entertainment. A 50m footbridge and underground tunnels connect the development to the adjacent neighborhood and MTR station.
Working closely with our client, Nan Fung Group, Arup provided total engineering solutions that helped transform the former airport site into a people-oriented inclusive community environmentally and socially. Our services covered architectural, planning, structure, façade, traffic, sustainability, fire engineering, digital, building services, geotechnics and civil engineering.
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With the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as the design blueprint for this development, the team has built a new ‘CO₆ metrics’ framework – covering ‘community hub creation’, ‘comfortable & healthy environment’, ‘carbon dioxide (CO₂) reduction’, ‘conspicuous performance & consumption’ and ‘cost effective smart technology’.
Microclimate studies were conducted to shape the building form with an urban window to enhance outdoor comfort and local wind environment. Water features have been crafted to reduce the heat island effect in compact urban environment.
Our holistic approach turned the project into Hong Kong’s first private development that has received five highest sustainable building certifications: platinum pre-certification of US LEED®, provisional platinum certification of Hong Kong BEAM Plus New Building, platinum pre-certification of WELL Building Standard™, final platinum certification of BEAM Plus Neighbourhood and final 3-Star certification of the China Green Building Design Label.
A number of cutting-edge technologies were deployed in a human-centric design approach, helping to redefine the customer and tenant experience.
In addition to seamless wireless internet access, the connectivity statistics can be utilised to facilitate business growth through dwell time and customer behaviour analysis. Empowered by AI technology, we provided advanced customer analytics through people counting and a video analytic system. The system also allows queue management and crowd detection.
Moreover, Neuron, Arup’s self-developed AI smart building console has been implemented in the project. With the centralised building information management and asset management system, operations and facilities management can be optimised through real-time monitoring of assets, predictive maintenance and task scheduling.
Enabling fast-track construction
The two office towers are integrated with the retail podium to form a unified building profile featuring different sloping geometries and terraces. Our structural engineers designed the sloping steel-reinforced concrete composite columns to form the varying profiles on all four sides of the north main tower, and transfer structures at multiple locations at the podium.
The 23m deep basement provides space for various usage, including underground retail space, loading and unloading area, district cooling system plantroom and carpark. To enable a fast-track construction, our structure and geotechnical team adopted a hybrid ‘semi-top-down’ construction sequence using high strength steel stanchions, allowing simultaneous construction of the superstructure and basement box structure, as well as early fit-out of critical plant rooms in the basement floors. The top-down scheme allowed the programme to be reduce by seven months.
Integrating form, function and performance
The buildings boast slightly curved façades made of fluted glass, designed in a nod to Nan Fung’s initial textile business. The design concept is inspired by draped fabric, evident in the lower façade which consists of both flat and curved panels. The curved façade panels, found on parts of the two office towers and the podium, vary in curvature in a sinusoidal manner, gradually increasing in degree as they descend and taper off. The unique design creates a continuity in the façade resembling the graceful movement of fabric.
Our façade and MEP teams also worked closely to harmonise the MEP elements such as external louvres on the building envelope to maintain the architect’s design intent.
To provide a spacious interior in the retail area, our structural and MEP engineers optimised SMEP zones against the complex building geometry.
The high atrium and deep basement posed fire safety challenges. Working closely with our building services team, our fire engineers came up with a series of solutions to make these features possible without compromising fire safety. The solutions include a tailored smoke extraction system and fire suppression systems which consist of long throw sprinklers and gas suppression.
Linking the heart of CBD
AIRSIDE is intelligently connected to the city’s transportation systems with an MTR connection as well as a public bus transportation terminus. An underground shopping street is also planned to improve connectivity to surrounding developments increasing the leasable space. In particular, the development will provide an automatic underground bicycle parking system, the first-of-its-kind in Hong Kong.
Our transport consulting team managed the design and planning of the transport facilities including ingress/egress, internal traffic circulation, parking, loading/unloading and pedestrian connectivity to the public transport and elevated walkways – optimising the intrinsic and real value of the development.