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Aedas looks to Hong Kong’s architectural past to design a serviced apartment in one of the world’s most densely populated areas, writes Christie Lee.


Rowdy crowds and vendors hollering at the top of their lungs in open-air markets…While it provides a feast for the senses, Mongkok – with a population density of 130,000 heads per square kilometre – is also one of the most crowded places on the planet.

Now, Aedas is taking up the challenge of creating what they call a ‘transitional experience’ in the district with a new serviced apartment.

Slated to be completed in 2015, the serviced apartment stands on a site that’s just 614 square metres, and will be able to accommodate 138 residential units.


Inspiration for the dramatically-angled exterior was drawn from the illegal iron balconies commonly found in the local buildings during the post-war period. Aedas offers a contemporary interpretation of these fixtures to startling effect. Says Project Design Director, Cary Lau, “We believe that great design can be delivered by a deep social and cultural understanding of the communities we are designing for. Those illegal structures are part of the local history and culture.”

Besides being a way to connect the past and present, the protruded zig-zag formation allows for unobstructed views of the city centre. The floor-to-ceiling windows also add extra texture and dimension to the facade.


The firm is also proposing a barrage of green fixtures and technologies. Beginning at the street level, residents walk past an outdoor garden before entering the lobby. The green and water fixtures also serve as a shield against the bustling Mongkok streets. Communal spaces are further enlivened by an outdoor landscaped terrace, located next to the transit lobby on the third floor.

A vertical garden weaves its way up the front of the building. More than a decorative feature, it’s a reminder of – as Lau notes – “the little indoor gardens that people create on their balconies.”

When it comes to garden walls, maintenance has always been a concern and to that end a sound automatic irrigation and drainage system will be installed beneath the lush layers of vegetation to minimise upkeep efforts. Additionally, insulated glazing units will help to minimise heat gain, while low-emitting materials will be used to improve indoor air quality.


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