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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Baumschlager Eberle Hong Kong Ltd bags the HKB International Business Awards for Architecture

Baumshclager Eberle designed SCPG's largest urban complex.

Baumschlager Eberle Hong Kong Ltd was tapped by SCPG to design Wuhan InCity, a mix-use urban complex. Wuhan InCity is a sustainable, user friendly, cost effective, highly comfortable urban complex with strong social identity supporting social integration and participation in urban life. The urban complex is SCPG's largest project in the last 20 years and has become its show piece. After Wuhan InCity's completion, SCPG became China's second largest commercial developer. The economic success of the project and high quality of the design made the client hold a larger part of the building rather than sell it. Wuhan InCity has become a focal point of social life and leisure activities in the neighbourhood. For this, Baumschlager Eberle won the 4th Hong Kong Business International Business Awards for Architecture.

Wuhan InCity's design makes it a "living" building not only because of the interlaced indoor and outdoor spaces but also due to its flexibility and openness to future requirements. The open floor plans based on a rationally gridded load-bearing structure allow the buildings to easily adapt to and adopt changes, such as adjustment of size or function. Residential apartments can be combined together to grow with a family while office spaces offer various partition options to allow multiple organisation patterns. Retail entities can also expand in horizontal and vertical directions. The retail space on a functional level could easily transform into an office or a public building while the residential tower can transform into an office or vice versa. The flexibility of the design is its ultimate asset.

While the green building design of Wuhan InCity was not specifically required by the brief of SPCG, the client raised sustainable architecture as a general concept. The formal quality of the design was also required and was an object in the conceptual design. The retail space that is divided into the open and green public areas introduces a new shopping concept while the shopping mall is no longer an introvert megastructure. In contrast, the retail space stretches out over the outdoor areas and merges with the surroundings. The commercial complex that is divided by open and green public spaces and connected by bridges and pedestrian networks enhances the retail business and the quality of public life. Retail shops are open and easily accessible from outside to inside, and vice versa. Multiple-levelled bridges take the pedestrian flow from the ground and elevate pedestrian flow vertically. The maze of bridges that playfully connect the different volumes interlaces the indoor and outdoor spaces, thereby turning the architecture into a welcoming background for public space. The characteristic public space shaped by the retails on multiple levels also invite people to stay.

The HKB International Business Awards was held on September 5, 2018 at the Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong. The award honours the most innovative projects and best practices as well as first-rate international businesses in Hong Kong.

The 2018 nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Andrew Ross, Managing Director at Baker Tilly Hong Kong; Roy Lo, Managing Partner at SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited; Charbon Lo, Director at Crowe (HK) CPA Limited, and Anthony Tam, Executive Director in Tax Services at Mazars Hong Kong.

If you would like to join the 2019 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding international companies in Hong Kong, please email eleonor@charltonmediamail.com.

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