Slideshow of this Project Press F11 for Full Screen
Hong Kong 2007

PROGRAM : Ecodesigning Hong Kong
LOCATION : Master Plan for the Central Waterfront, Central Business District
SURFACE AREA : 2.7 linear Km
PROMOTER : City of Hong Kong
TEAM : Vincent Callebaut + Arnaud Martinez + Maguy Delrieu



The urban mesh of the Central Business District is surrounded by the green hills visible from the Victoria Peak in the South and by the sinuous bank of the Xi Jiang, also called the Pearl River in the North. On the horizontal stratum compressed along the curves of the levels of the precipitous relief, the city structured itself vertically through a field of more or less frayed towers of glass and steel. Hong Kong is one of the more populated territorry in the world with a density of 30 000 inhabitants/km. To answer to this overpopulation, the project Urban Jungle proposes to re-tame the nature and to widen the territory of the ultra-contemporary city.

In the heart of the South China Sea, this perfumed harbour will abound in an urban jungle by the renaturalisation of the urban landcape and its extension on Central Waterfront. In the framework of the long lasting development, the goal is thus to increase the real estate availability by setting up an ecologically positive strong print. This means so that the new built spaces are auto-sufficient and produce more energies and biodiversity that they consume!


The redefinition of the Central Waterfront offers us the opportunity to understand the aquatic world and to retranscribe it by liquid spaces with high fluidity. A continuous layer pierced of cells redefines thus a new ecologic substrate to the elaboration of this project. Actually, a mesh of irregular cells enables the water to infiltrate in the deepest of the existing urban fabric and its hollow teeth to the Tamar Site overriding the Tun Wo Lane. This mesh hangs to the bank of the Victoria Harbour to the bottom of the towers. By undulatory circuits ramifying and refining at its extremities, this multimodal layer integrates all the relevant modes of transport including airport rail, underground rail (MTR), ferries/fast boats, private yachts, the Central-Wanchai Bypass, various circulation roads, franchise and non-franchise buses and minibuses.

The cells overlap in alternate rows and put the visitors in the heart of a continuous open space fluctuating between open-air swimming pools, marinas, kilometres of new quais and pedestrian or bicycle promenades in the seafront, piers, swamps, lagoons of biologic purification, oceanography museums or even subaquatic operas. In front of the skyline of the Kowloon peninsula, a true cascade of aquatic and vegetable terraces like the ones of a rice terrace are layed out on this fifth faade. This new topography, without any wall, thus without any limit, is not only meant to be inhabited by the citizens of Hong Kong but is also designed to be infiltrated, crossed and printed by the numerous species of the fauna and local flora or in migration that will come to install themselves. It is thus finally a new ecosystem linked to the networks that will progressively set up embracing from East to West the piers of the Central Ferry Terminal, the IFC Tower, the Hong Kong City Hall, the Circus Plaza, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, the Exhibition and Convention Center and the Wanchai Sports Ground.


Drawing their roots in the deepest of the South China Sea, a field of techno-organic towers dashes from the water towards the sky. These towers develop themselves as true trees multiplying in rhizomes. Actually, their structure grows vertically along the trunk on which many arborescent branches ramify. Around these branches a fishnet dress profiling the highly environmental faades hangs up. The regular pixels formed by this fishnet are closed on a random way by cushions of substrate and vegetable fertilizers enabling the development of a luxuriant vegetation. The spatial configuration of these ecological towers offers them a double function. The spaces called inside the arborescence will be dedicated to the private sphere of the housing whereas the spaces called outside the branches will be dedicated to the bureaucratic service sector and the leisure. This diversity of functions tends to answer to the nocturnal paralysis from which the Central Business District suffers, hollowing out at night by a new social vitality of exchanges and interconnexions !

Under the subtropical climate with dry winter, the arborescent towers linked together by a road and pedestrian network changes thus into true vertical gardens with strong ethnic identity. Echoing back to the art of the Chinese faience with sinusoidal curves, they contrast by their sensuality with the surrounding rigour of the back-field built in barcods. Metaphor also of the Chinese projects covered by a linen woven of green fibre, these are living architectures with processes inspired of the biology and the botany. According to the investment bank Merrill Lynch, the atmospheric pollution in Hong Kong decreases strongly the competitiveness of Hong Kong, especially in front of Singapore. The workers of Hong Kong and their families preferring leaving Hong Kong to preserve their health. To fight against the pollution, the metabolism of these new ecological towers will thus enable the city of Hong Kong to purify and simultaneously recycle the rejections of CO2 contained in the atmosphere into oxygen by photosynthesis and to produce by cogeneration (from combustible rejections) electrical energy or thermal energy to reinsufflate in the urban network.

Near Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, the economical development of Hong Kong made it one of the four Asian dragons. But in this beginning of the 21st century, will it also dare to be the first to build a contemporary Ecopolis by showing the example of the long lasting development?

Vincent Callebaut Architect



La trame urbaine du Central Business District est enserre entre les vertes collines visibles depuis le Victoria Peak au sud et par la rive sinueuse du Xi Jiang, nomm aussi la Rivire des Perles au nord. Sur les strates horizontales comprimes le long des courbes de niveaux du relief escarp, la ville sest structure verticalement par un champ de tours de verre et dacier plus ou moins effiles. Hong Kong est un des territoires les plus peupls au monde avec une densit de 30 000 habitants/km. Pour rpondre cette surpopulation, le projet Urban Jungle propose de r-apprivoiser la nature et d' dlargir le territoire de cette ville ultra-contemporaine. Au cur de la South China Sea, ce port parfum foisonnera en une jungle urbaine par la renaturalisation du paysage urbain et son extension sur le Central Waterfront. Dans le cadre du dveloppement durable, le but est donc daugmenter la disponibilit immobilire tout en mettant en place une forte empreinte cologiquement positive. Cest--dire de faire en sorte que les nouveaux espaces btis soient auto-suffisants et produisent plus dnergies et de biodiversit quils nen consomment !


La redfinition du Central Waterfront nous offre loccasion dapprhender le monde aquatique et de le retranscrire par des espaces liquides haute fluidit. Une nappe continue perce dalvoles redfinit ainsi un nouveau substrat cologique llaboration du projet. En effet, une trame de cellules irrgulires permet leau de sinfiltrer au plus profond du tissu urbain existant et de ses dents creuses jusquau Tamar Site outrepassant la Tun Wo Lane. Cette trame vient saccrocher la rive du Victoria Harbour jusquau pied des tours. Par des circuits ondulatoires se ramifiant et saffinant ses extrmits, cette nouvelle plaque multimodal intgre all the relevant modes of transport including airport rail, underground rail (MTR), ferries/fast boats, private yachts, the Central-Wanchai Bypass, various circulation roads, franchise and non-franchise buses and minibuses.

Les alvoles se chevauchent en quinconce et plongent les visiteurs au cur dun open space continu fluctuant entre des piscines ciel ouvert, des marinas, des kilomtres de nouveaux quais et de promenades pitonnes et cyclables en bord de mer, des piers, des marcages, des lagunes dpuration biologique, des muses docanographie ou bien encore des opras subaquatiques. Face la skyline de la pninsule de Kowloon, cest une vritable cascade de terrasses aquatiques et vgtales semblables celles dune rizire qui sorganise sur cette cinquime faade. Cette nouvelle topographie, sans mur donc sans limite, est non seulement destine tre habite par les citoyens hongkongais mais elle est aussi conue pour tre infiltre, traverse et imprgne par de nombreuses espces de la faune et de la flore locales ou en migration qui viendront sy nicher. Cest donc finalement un nouvel cosystme raccords aux rseaux qui se mettra progressivement en place embrassant dest en ouest, les piers du Central Ferry Terminal, lIFC Tower, le Hong Kong City Hall, le Circus Plaza, le Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, lExhibition and Convention Center et le Wanchai Sports Ground.


Puisant leurs racines au plus profond de la South China Sea, un champ de tours techno-organiques viennent slancer de la leau vers le ciel. Ces tours se dveloppent comme de vritables arbres se multipliant en rhizomes. En effet leur structure pousse verticalement le long dun tronc sur lequel vient se ramifier une multitude de branches arborescentes. Autour de ces branches vient se suspendre une robe en rsille profilant les faades hautement environnementales. Les pixels rguliers forms par cette rsille sont alatoirement obturs par des coussins de substrat et dengrais vgtaux permettant le dveloppement dune vgtation luxuriante. La configuration spatiale de ces tours cologiques leur offre ainsi une double fonction. Les espaces dits en-dedans de larborescence seront consacrs la sphre prive du logement tandis que les espaces dits en-dehors des branches seront quant eux destins au tertiaire bureaucratique et aux loisirs. Cette mixit des fonctions tend rpondre la paralysie nocturne dont souffre le Central Business District svidant la nuit tombe par une nouvelle vitalit sociale dchanges et dinterconnexions !

Sous le climat subtropical hiver sec, les tours arborescentes liaisonnes entre elles par un rseau viaire et piton se transforment donc en vritables jardins verticaux forte identit ethnique. Faisant cho lart de la faence chinoise aux courbes sinusodales, elles tranchent par leur sensualit avec la rigueur gravitaire de larrire-champ construit en code-barres. Mtaphore galement des chantiers chinois habills dune toile tisse de fibre verte, ce sont des architectures vivantes aux processus inspirs de la biologie et de la botanique. Selon la banque d'affaires Merrill Lynch, la pollution atmosphrique Hong Kong diminue fortement la comptitivit de Hong Kong, en particulier face Singapour. Les travailleurs hongkongais et leurs familles prfrant quitter Hong Kong pour prserver leur sant. Pour combattre cette pollution, le mtabolisme de ces nouvelles tours cologiques permettra donc la ville de Hong Kong de simultanment purer et recycler les rejets de CO2 contenus dans latmosphre en oxygne par photosynthse, et de produire par cognration ( partir des rejets combustibles) de lnergie lectrique ou de lnergie thermique rinsuffler dans le rseau urbain.

ct de Singapour, de la Core du Sud et de Taiwan, le dveloppement conomique de Hong Kong a fait d'elle l'un des quatre dragons asiatiques. Mais en ce dbut de 21 me sicle, aura-t-elle aussi laudace dtre la premire construire une Ecopolis contemporaine en montrant lexemple du dveloppement durable ?

Vincent Callebaut Architecte