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May 12, 2024

How Zaha Hadid Architects is changing Hong Kong’s skyline with The Henderson

It’s this brand of envelope-pushing, futuristic architecture that people have been expecting with The Henderson, a 36-storey building designed by ZHA, which is soon to be opened in Hong Kong.

Set on Murray Road, it’s a historic plot of land in a distinguished location that reportedly broke real estate record prices when Henderson Land acquired it in 2017. Flanked by iconic buildings such as Bank of China Tower by IM Pei and the HSBC building by Foster + Partners, it’s a skyscraper that will transform one of the world’s most recognisable skylines.

The first order for Klomps, who moved to the city seven years ago to oversee the project, was to understand the context. “What struck me first about Hong Kong is its density. It’s an exceptional mix of apartments, offices, shops and public spaces, all compressed into a sliver of land,” she says. “Then there’s the juxtaposition to the landscape: forested mountains right next to hyperdensity. It’s a super interesting diagram in an energetic, multicultural place.”

The Henderson is a microcosm of Hong Kong, with gleaming, man-made glass and nature—it is adjacent to the Hong Kong Park and Chater Garden—seamlessly intertwined. There’s a distinct biophilic approach to its creation; strategic planting is seen from the ground floor all the way up to the rooftop and, thanks to the building’s columns, the core of the structure is designed to look like it’s hovering above the park. “This is the only large green space left in Central, and we wanted to honour that.” says Klomps.

The embrace of greenery is also evident in the sky garden, which is envisioned as a sanctuary for future tenants. The partially double-height area features large, open, ventilated spaces—ideal for a bit of exercise, ad-hoc meetings with colleagues or a quiet space to think. The plants here were done in collaboration with PWP Landscape Architecture, which worked on Jewel Changi Airport; the same flora is used here, chosen because it would also thrive in this setting.

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