Friday, March 20, 2015

Scraping The Sky - Iconic Buildings of Hong Kong

This city is glittery. It's vibrant. It's jaw-dropping.

And it's MY city! 

First: The Bank of China Building:

This building was the tallest one in the skyline when my husband lived in Hong Kong as a teenager. It still stands out as a unique, eye-catching structure. It's designed with meticulous feng shui, auspicious for those inside. However, the sharp angles on the outside of the building are pointed daggers sending cutting, bad feng shui to its neighbors and causing contention!

Lippo Towers & Far East Financial Center:

The Lippo Towers (there are 2) were one of the first victims of the bad feng shui from The Bank of China. Formerly called the Bond Centre, people believe the bad fengshui caused its financial difficulties and it was sold - becoming Lippo. Take a look a the shapes along the sides - they are designed to resemble koala bears climbing a tree. The architect is Australian. On the left, the Far East Financial Center is bright gold - symbolizing money, money, money. It's all about the money.


HSBC - the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Center - was built before the handover. This building was designed like Lego - in pieces - that supposedly could be taken apart and put back together in a different location "should the need arise". I suppose they weren't too certain about the future. Reportedly, HSBC now boasts the best feng shui of any building in the city. It responded to the Bank of China's "daggers" by placing cannons on the roof aimed at the Bank of China. (!) They are serious about their feng shui around here, people!!!

The base of this building is amazing. It maps the development of the harbor, the dramatic expansion of land (reclamation), a timeline and info boards.

Notice the escalator (below). It's sideways - not facing straight out - again, feng shui. This is so the wealth doesn't flow out of the building, so to speak, as it would if the escalator were facing straight out. I am told that this is why it's rare to find any house or apartment in China where the stairs inside lead directly to the front door. Hm.... maybe that's why we had trouble saving money in our DC townhouse!

The inside of the building is quite spectacular. Glass atrium - glass walls EVERYWHERE. Even much of the floor is glass! Great view of the harbor. So quiet and orderly - and all with these crisscross lines everywhere.

looking down on through glass to the street below, through the center of the building

HSBC's lions are quite famous. They are on Hong Kong's $20 note. They are named Stitt and Stephen. Rub their paws for some of their wealth to rub off on you. But do it quick before the guard shoos you away! They notably face diagonally away from the building. Most protective lions (there are many around here) face straight out. However, that provides protection behind them -but sends bad energy out to others. The softened angle of these lions' gaze minimizes bad ju-ju to buildings nearby.

Jardine House:

I won't even tell you the street name for this 52 storey building - it's rather improper. And there are children reading this. :) I hope. Somewhere in the world. Anyhow, this was the tallest building in all of Asia when it was built (1972). There were a few Jardine Houses before this version, the oldest one dating to the 1840's. It is now dwarfed by the structures surrounding it, but it still has a great spot in the city. An elevated walkway connects Jardine house to several other buildings in Central. So one can hop from building to building without ever touching the street-level.

The OLD Bank of China building:
old Bank of China building
Current Photo - just playing around with editing. :)
This building has some political history. It was commissioned by China and was supposedly built to dominate and overshadow the Hong Kong Bank building near it (old HSBC). Apparently, loudspeakers used to be attached to the corners, broadcasting political propoganda in the '60s. 

Cheung Kong Center:
The boxy building in the center of the next photo. 

P.S. - you can see the cannon above HSBC, pointed at Bank of China
A feng shui master was consulted when designing this to best deflect the negative energy from Bank of China. It is part of the empire of wealth of one of the richest men in HK, Li Ka Shing, who reportedly lives on the top floor.

City Scape....

The tall, skinny, shiny structure on the right is one of two IFC buildings. One of those buildings is 88 storeys high and now dominates the skyline view (seen with it's top disappearing into clouds in the first photo of this post). It's the 2nd tallest building in HK.

A giant mural of the city scape - entirely made of postage stamps!!! (In Guinness Book of World Records.) Not kidding. You can see it at the post office in Central.

Reclaimed Land
The harbour gets smaller and smaller by the day. Hong Kong engineers and architects have literally created land where once there was sea in order to expand the city. It's an incredible story -one worth googling if you have the time. Or watch this dramatic video of the airport design to give you an idea.

much of this used to be sea

land continuing to be built, expanded, developed.... the construction never ceases
Where hundreds of amahs gather for street picnic on Sundays.

the long elevated walking bridge to get to the latest dock for the star ferry

 Still in China
Amid all of this steel, glass, and shine - are sweet reminders that you are in China:

Last, but not least - I must THANK my fabulous kindergarten colleagues for jumpstarting my education of this great city I live in. Thank you for a teachers-only field trip, ladies!!! I feel ready for our kindergarten trek through the city next week.

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