Star Ferry Piazza

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong  |  Design 2009


Star Ferry Piazza Competition

Challenges - The design of the piazza sets out to address a number of challenges and possibilities. These challenges include creating a iconic signature design unique to Hong Kong and a design that reflects Hong Kong as a city of dynamic and constant change. The challenge also aims to address the context of the surrounding urban programs and resolution of the pedestrian flow coming from and going to these surrounding areas from the piazza.

Design Concept - The design generates from recognition of 3 areas of distinct character that surround and converge onto the site of the piazza. Firstly is the history cultural strip with the Hong Kong Cultural Center, clock tower (remnant of the historic railway terminus) and Avenue of Stars. Secondly, is the city urban fabric and programs coming from Canton Road and Salisbury Avenue and thirdly the area of Harbour City/ Ocean Terminal historically occupied by ship wharfs which, together with China Hong Kong City/China Ferry Terminal, still operates as an ocean liner and ferry terminus.

3 Lines of Movements are formed which originate from the 3 surrounding areas that move dynamically in a spiral manner towards the center of the piazza. These lines form a pattern on the ground. The lines will be inlayed into the ground with different designs and materials to reflect the nature of the area where they originate from. The History and Cultural Line will be made of glass and lit from below by an array of LED lights for form changing light patterns on the ground to form a kinetic media art piece to the piazza. The City Line will be made of stone and metal to reflect the man made and natural aspects of the city. The Harbour Line will be made of wood reflecting the historic dockyard and Hong Kong’s heritage of the sea. The 3 lines are superimposed on top of one another to form a unique pattern and form. The lines reflect and direct the pedestrian flow from these areas. The converging composition of the lines reflects patterns of natural movement and convergence patterns in nature. The crossing of lines also alludes to crossing of railway tracks of the former railway terminus.

The space in between the lines forms a series of layers which wrap and focus towards the center. These space layers allow the embedding of programs and landscaping of the piazza. One layer becomes a green layer with insertion of soft landscaping forming a green backdrop to the center. Another space layer forms the Sculpture Garden. The sculptures will be an open gallery with a green theme sculpture designed by renowned sculptors. Another layer forms the ancillary buildings such as newspaper stands, kiosks and public toilets. The ancillary buildings are design with roofs that peel from the ground so that the architecture is an integral part of the landscape. Another layer forms a trellis and seating that focuses towards the center. In the center of the piazza is a water feature landscape pool to provide a focus to the piazza and a visual and aural oasis to the area.

The center of the piazza is designed to allow it to function as an event space. The center is stepped down gently to form the possibility of a performance stage. With the positioning of the outdoor seating, the clock tower and the TST cultural strip becomes the backdrop to the stage.

The decommissioned train compartment is located near the Star Ferry pier to form a collective of traditional public transportation. Positioned to at an oblique angle to the clock tower, it provided photo opportunities to the clock tower without obstructing the whole tower as well as allowing photos at other angles with Victoria Harbour as the backdrop.

The overall design thus becomes a dynamic composition reflecting the energy of the site, the city of Hong Kong.