HKSAR Government Headquarters is located at the historical site of Tamar, a former naval dockyard.
It is an intricately composed Government Complex, integrating three principal facilities: the
HKSAR Government Offices, the Chief Executive’s Office and the Legislative Council Complex.
Recalling the city’s traditional spirit of open-mindedness and receptiveness, the architecture of the new headquarters for Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region government takes the form of an overt gesture, a metaphor of an “open door” that also reads as a gateway to Victoria Harbour and a frame for the city rising behind it. At the same time it is urbanistically a genuinely humanistic design: despite its location on a previously isolated site with busy traffic and highways around, the doorway now sits over a barrier free landscaped carpet of green that knits the city together and invites pedestrians to pass through its embrace on their travels from the business district to the waterfront.
The site covers 42,218 square metres, a huge area of land for this downtown district. Open lawns –
a rarity in Hong Kong – are bracketed by generous benches and terraces. The two-hectare carpet
of green at the centre is a kind of welcome mat for the whole complex, creating a sense of place
and organizing the site plan. The landscaped Civic Park, or “Green Carpet”, penetrates the heart
of the project linking the city with the waterfront, gives Tamar back to the citizens and brings them
right through the heart of Government. Walking through the plaza gives pedestrians as well as
building occupants an opportunity to interact with nature at all scales, from low plantings to trees, in a constructed landscape that terraces down to the water. The open green space of this site will
connect to the future public park planned for the waterfront; once completed, the network will
extend into the Central district and Wanchai.
Above all, it is about the spirit of sharing: how a prime site in the centre of the city could be shared not only by 3 branches of government, but also by the public in such a way that all parties could function without under interference from one another, while at the same time sharing the common
attribute of the city, i.e. the harbour and the waterfront. Now it becomes a venue for public events in the heart of the city.
The design concept of the Project embodies four themes:
Openness - "Door always open"
Enjoyment - "Land always green"
Sustainability - "Sky will be blue"
Communication - "People will be connected"
Door Always Open
With a grand gesture of opening up the site from the city to the Harbour, Tamar Project is a visual
icon projecting the spirit of Hong Kong:a city always open and receptive to new ideas and diverse
cultures. The Open Door also symbolizes a city which is justifiably proud of its openness and
transparency of governance. The sense of openness is enhanced also by the façades, being transparent
and visually permeable; within the parameters of security and practicality, passersby can
catch glimpses of the activities and spaces within, while office workers can enjoy the view of the park and the water. Materials and colors were carefully chosen to support the integration of the
buildings with the city on three sides, and physical connections are made via elevated walkways,ground-level sidewalks, and the new waterfront pathway.
Land Always Green
On a human scale the Complex is a civic icon, where greenery takes centre-stage and architecture
assumes a supporting role. The Door gives way to nature and lush landscape. The “Green
Carpet” that connects the Harbour through the Door leads to a multitude of people-friendly venues,
including a sculpture Court, the Legislative Council Garden, an amphitheatre, a floating deck, the Legislative Council Square and the Tamar Corner, all for the enjoyment of the public.
With the architectural design of the building “embracing” the open Green Carpet, visitors are encouraged to take in the space overlooking the fragrant Victoria Harbour. The design on the other hand wants the towers sweeping up to the sky in a stately manner with the Green Carpet below . The lobby of the Complex is on the first and second floors instead of the typical ground floor. The reason being that the platform kept everything elevated in parallel with the Green Carpet, which would gradually slope down to the waterfront.
Sky will be Blue
Tamar’s architecture demonstrates a passionate commitment to embrace a cleaner future, with
emphasis on sustainable design contributing to a concerted effort to bring back the blue sky. Disposition
of the blocks allows the prevailing wind to penetrate the inner city providing ventilation
through the Open Door passage, it also allows solar access to the site from the south, while the
stepped heights of the buildings allow airflow mixing and recirculation, channeling wind from higher
elevations to enhance air ventilation at pedestrian level. The challenge was to balance wind and
visual aspects, testing mechanisms and personal feelings of the Hong Kong people. A special
consultant (RWDI) was hired to embrace the challenge of embarking on a sustainable design,
which would address the effects of the wind, stagnant air pockets as well minimising the urban heat
island effect. The restarint was of not adversely affect the surrounding area and pedestrian. The
open area, thanks to the design (not super tall tower for example) ensured the open area to have a
straight open tunnel for both wind and visualisation; the canopy keeps flow elevated not affecting pedestrians. A lot of sustainable elements were designed, appealing the general public as well as the workers. These include such features as the natural light funnel in the Chamber - Plenary Hall of the LegCo Complex which also boasts a green roof and shading devices. The Central Government Offices have double roof photovoltaic solar panels installed while the Chief Executive’s Office has thermal chimney, full height atrium as well as a green solar screen on its west - facing wall.Water conservation has been implemented and rain water collected has been recycled for landscape irrigation. Besides, innovative façade design systems are adopted to achieve sustainability for the development. While daylight penetration is calculated to reduce energy consumption from artificial lighting, glare protection and high performance glazing have been used for the facade of curtain glass walls, which optimises the transmittance of light, visibility and performance of shade devices. There are motion sensor controls to detect occupancy conditions in the office and adjust automatically the lighting and air conditioning to save energy. The complex has also an automatic refuse collection system.
People will be Connected
The essence of Tamar’s design for people is on connectivity, dialogue and communication. On a
physical level, the design starts with a macro-view of the urban form adopting a strategy that brings on a seamless connection of urban green nodes, from Hong Kong Park to Admiralty Gardens to the future waterfront promenade, making the place and the waterfront accessible to the public with
ease and fluidity. To enhance this connectivity, the Legislative Council Complex and The Chief
Executive’s Office are located one on each side of the site, on the same axes as the Central Government Offices East Wing and West Wing,flanking the central park area and angled towards the Waterfront to create unity for the whole development, being set in more than two hectares of open,green and freely accessible areas for the public.