• 11 SKIES Welcomes First Phase Completion – Two highly engineered façade types bring project to life

    28 February 2023

    Described as a ‘game-changing retailtainment destination’, New World Development’s HK$20 billion 11 SKIES mixed-use development at SKYCITY, situated next to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), is set to become Hong Kong’s largest one-stop destination for retail, dining and entertainment (RDE). 

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    Scheduled to open in phases from 2022 to 2025, the 3.8 million square feet development will consist of 2.66 million square feet of retail space, including over 800 shops and 120 dining concepts, once complete. 11 SKIES is an integral part of the government master plan for a public transit and transportation hub for the Greater Bay Area (GBA), which will also form a major part of the development of Lantau Island as a visitor entertainment hub, in association with Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360 and other existing attractions such as the Big Buddha. The 570,000 square feet of entertainment space will provide a unique customer experience destination with eight different dedicated attractions designed to cater to all ages.

    “The brief for 11 SKIES in terms of the amount of dedicated entertainment area formed a key part in how the  Airport Authority plans to develop the North Commercial District of Hong Kong Airport Island,” explains Claude Touikan, Co Founder & Executive Director, of Lead8, who are the consultants responsible for the master planning, architecture and interior design of the development.

    “Following the initial guidelines and research to develop a program focused on the catchment area of the airport and new airport city concept, we worked towards an ‘aero polis’ model. Our design takes advantage of the proximity of the international airport and also capitalises on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the GBA 1.5-hour living circle, alongside creating a neighbourhood destination in line with the Lantau Island Development plans,” he adds.

    First phase complete

    The first phase of development, comprising a 570,000 square feet workplace community within three grade A office towers and operated under K11 ATELIER, opened in July 2022. It connects to Terminal 2 of the airport, as well as providing access to the AsiaWorld Expo via an air-conditioned footbridge. The workplace offering is the first within an RDE destination to combine office space for GBA enterprises with a focus on wealth management, wellness and medical services.

    Positioned in the northeast corner of the site, the design of the three office towers seek to optimise the connectivity to two neighbouring hotels and the AsiaWorld Expo. The new workplace community also benefits from its integration to the wider 11 SKIES destination and transport hub featuring Airport Express and bus connectivity. 

    Each of the towers also serve a strategic purpose, with Tower 1 designed as a hub for GBA enterprises, Tower 2 dedicated to wellness and medical services and Tower 3 to wealth management. The concept is an attempt to redefine the traveller, consumer and business experience, whilst creating a business hub in one synergic ecosystem.

    Connecting the towers is a central garden courtyard that establishes a community gathering point offering landscaped breakout space for the building’s tenants and views across the South China Sea. Furthermore, the three towers share an overall exterior design language that defines them as parts of a unified workplace community.  And with the office towers situated on top of a green plinth, which forms one of the largest green walls in Hong Kong, the sleek, smooth, flat glass exterior (Type A) façade is part of an overall exterior design that according to Touikan is “highly engineered to allow for both technical and aesthetic purposes”.

    11 SKIES façades

    The architectural and façade design of the wider 11 SKIES development is inspired by the concept of flight. The abstracted form of a folded paper plane forms the basis of the feature façade articulation, giving the development a strong visual identity along the major viewing corridors to the development and within the surrounding ‘airport city’ context.

    The design embodies the theme of 11 SKIES as a place for boundless exploration and unlimited possibilities. Home to exciting brands, vibrant experiences and groundbreaking retailtainment, the architectural concept captures the idea of soaring opportunities.

    The ‘paper plane form’ has been transposed and translated to create an articulated façade for 11 SKIES. The façade language has then been aggregated to create a pattern that embodies a holistic identity for the development. The form is further emphasised by the use of a colour-changing, high-performance coating.

    Workplace architectural design

    The K11 ATELIER office buildings are integrated to the wider mixed-use destination but also retain their own identity as a workplace community within 11 SKIES.

    The exterior (Type A) façades of the office towers have a vertical orientation accented by a number of recessed vertical louvers that animate and break up the façade as an architectural feature with integrated lighting. The design is highly adaptable, with feature louvers  increasing the future flexibility of the towers to allow tenants the opportunity to plug in additional fresh air intakes depending on their MEP needs, for example, for medical or IT services.

    The exterior facing façade of the three office towers reads as a unified whole, the space between the towers creates a literal cut in the overall massing like a slice in a cake, revealing the interior (Type B) façades, which in contrast to their exterior counterparts are very deep, highly articulated, and more human scaled. The architecture is functional, in that discrete lighting features create a smooth glossy exterior. 

    Meanwhile, deep angled vertical and horizontal façade features inspired by the overall geometric language of the project intentionally break down the rich interior façades facing the intensively landscaped office courtyard or secret garden. The angled vertical fins both create privacy from neighboring tenants while encouraging views to the surrounding island and sea and out through the space between the three towers.

    Special attention was paid to the orientation and views of the office towers and future tenants. Given the tight site boundary and the need for three office towers, ensuring that each had a pleasant outlook to the surrounding neighborhood and also sufficient privacy between towers was a challenge. The resulting solution was to create an intensively landscaped interior office courtyard or secret garden between the three towers serving to both enhance the view, incorporate nature, provide privacy, and serve as an amenity for the office tenants.

    Commercial interior showcase

    Bringing to life the 11 SKIES theme of boundless exploration, the interior design of the grade A office towers showcases a striking feature to welcome visitors. A dramatic double-helix staircase occupies the office lobby and forms the backdrop to the co-working space. The design concept for the staircase is inspired by an airplane engine’s wind vortex through a turbine. The form and materials capture the essence of the overall 11 SKIES concept and elevate the experience and ambience of the commercial environment.

    Strategic Connectivity & Sustainability

    The development is strategically positioned next to the international airport, the Hong Kong Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, benefitting from a high volume of travellers, and a further 86 million people residing in the GBA. The architecture of the building facilitates connectivity across the entire destination and its neighbouring sites with a series of footbridges integrated within the design.

    Sustainability has also underpinned the design and construction process. K11 ATELIER 11 SKIES has attained BEAM Plus (New Buildings) v1.2 Provisional Platinum, LEED Platinum Precertification and WELL Building Standard Platinum Certification, taking the lead in its care for the environment with best practices to promote a greener tomorrow.

    “There is always a balance between a design that has the most impact and one which we can optimise from a technical performance standpoint. We’re proud to see 11 SKIES fulfill our expectation for Hong Kong’s built environment and also the natural environment through a smart and innovative approach,” says Touikan.

    The 11 SKIES mixed-used destination will continue to open in phrases until 2025, and we look forward to reporting on its progress.

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