• Airside – Retails Shopping Mall by Nan Fung

    14 June 2024

    Build4Asia Awards 2024 – Winner
    Retail / Shopping Mall (Completed)

    The 200m tall AIRSIDE is the tallest building in Hong Kong’s CBD 2.0 – the heart of the former Kai Tak Airport. It offers unparalleled view of the Kai Tak area, as well as Victoria Harbour. The development is specifically designed to be porous on ground floor, to integrate the surrounding public realm. The vision of the project is to create an environment that nurtures the connection between humans and nature, fosters a resilient and cohesive community, with exemplar environmental performance. AIRSIDE is poised to become a new Kai Tak landmark by bringing extensive greenery, entertainment, and job opportunities to elevate the neighbourhood.

    AIRSIDE is a Grade-A Office and Retail development. Its 177,670 square metres gross area consists of a 32 storey Grade-A office, a multi-storey retail complex, a public transport interchange, a landscaped and covered elevated walkway, carparking facilities and basement retail with direct interconnections to underground shopping street and Kai Tak MTR Station. It is centrally located connecting the Kai Tak area and the older San Po Kong district.

    It also consists of several self-initiated innovations including, automatic bicycle parking system, biological greywater treatment, smart refuse collection system, all are environmentally driven to encourage a more sustainable living and contribute to an enhanced user experience.

    Key Design Elements

    The design of AIRSIDE is inspired by a thoughtful fusion of natural elements, holistic structure, and contemporary urban spaces in Hong Kong. AIRSIDE reflects this by inviting the outside in, while connecting seamlessly to some of the main surrounding features in the area, including the Kai Tak Park and the Kai Tak River.

    Also inspired by the textile history of the developer, the architectural design concept plays with texture, layering, and detail of materials. The facade was presented as a geometry consisting of planar surfaces with curved pattern glass panels covering the building volume.

    The building is a composition of multiple interdependent blocks of varying heights. The visual subdivision of the building mass is achieved by distinct recesses in the façade which break down the scale of the podium and revert it into a traditional urban-scale volume. This creates the feature skylights at the atrium of the retail mall and multiple recesses that serve as entrances to the volume, create a porous and penetrable building, contacts to the surrounding features and encourage nature daylight into the building.

    AIRSIDE also advocates a sustainable green lifestyle supported by unique, state-of-the-art facilities, making it one of the most environmentally friendly landmarks in town.

    Green Design and sustainability

    AIRSIDE is the first commercial development in Hong Kong to adopt the Kai Tak District Cooling System (DCS). Chilled water is distributed from the DCS central plant to the building via the underground pipes network in the district to power the building’s HVAC system. This benefits from high system COP of 5.5, minimises heat island effect, saving over 500 tonnes of CO2 annually and 35% less electricity to be consumed compared to traditional air-cooled systems.

    AIRSIDE has Hong Kong’s largest commercial building-PV farm, consists of 1,350 square metres of roof PV and walkable PV panels, generating up to 270,000 kWh annually and contribute to 33% reduction in operating carbon emissions. Such large area of roof PV panels was made possible by adopting DCS that omits the need of traditional cooling tower at roof top.

    To maximize outdoor space and greenery, AIRSIDE’s exterior cascades from the office tower to retail podium to create lush rooftops, terraces, and open-air grounds for visitors to enjoy and interact across the extensive 1,700m2 green and open spaces.

    AIRSIDE provides smart and user-friendly infrastructure to cultivate green practice and conscious behaviour in waste reduction and recycling. The Automatic Refuse Collection System (ARCS) is the first installation in Hong Kong to sort and collect four common waste streams (general refuse, recyclable paper, plastic, and metal)

    from office & retail. It allows automatic weighting and logging for waste data, for tenant engagement program to drive further waste reductions.

    AIRSIDE proudly holds the distinction of being the first building in Hong Kong to receive seven of the highest-rated green building certifications, including LEED, WELL, BEAM Plus New Building, BEAM Plus Neighbourhood, China Building Design Label, WiredScore, and SmartScore.


    The retail atrium is characterised by the unique upcycled fabric spandrel panels, driving the circular flow of shoppers around the retail space. The fabric was specifically developed from scratch for the project, woven from fibres made of over 100,900 recycled PET bottles, resulting in a 28% improvement in embodied carbon.

    Next to the public cycling path near Kai Tak River, AIRSIDE initiates and encourages an experimental green commuting lifestyle by installing Hong Kong’s first Automatic Bicycle Parking System. It also serves as a pilot project for showcasing such idea in Hong Kong. It promotes “bicycle-friendly” environment in the community and encourage bicycle users who may be put off cycling because of security risks and potential damages from parking outdoor.

    AIRSIDE also have installed a biological grey water treatment. A wetland constructed at the retail roof garden makes use of innovative water filtration by wetland plant species. It processes grey water collected from retail mall’s handwashing to remove wastewater constituents. The treated water will then be used for watering the landscape in the development. This minimises water usage and reduce the wastewater treatment loads.

    The key objective is to deliver an innovative and sustainable mixed use commercial landmark project in Kai Tak CBD2 within the scheduled timeline and approved budget.

    The structural design optimisation to reduce element section size and reinforcement arrangement, as well as hybrid ‘semi-top-down’ construction method with high strength steel stanchions and post-tensioned concrete used, allowing simultaneous construction of the superstructure and basement box structure which cuts programme shorter in 7 months and saves material and supports and contributes to 6,800 tons CO2 emission.

    Challenges come when implementing pioneer initiatives, like the Automatic Refuse Collection System, Automatic Bicycle Parking System, much time, patience and even passion are necessary to bring together stakeholders like authorises, project team, and property management team, push each boundary, for successful implementations. This can only be achieved with throughout planning, effective communication, and repeated review of details and progress.

    AIRSIDE embraces a new urban lifestyle concept of wholeness, inviting everyone and the community to gather at a place where you can be yourself and connect. Situated at the heart of Kai Tak and surrounded by residential and commercial buildings, parks, and sports and cultural facilities, AIRSIDE boosts urban metabolism by its porous setting and connects people from all over the community and industry.

    With the key features and initiatives described in previous sections, AIRSIDE certainly involves innovations that are centred with environmental and wellness criteria, raised the industry performance, setting benchmarks for sustainable Grade-A Office and Retail Development.


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