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Cubus – Design Through Research

Woods Bagot’s new building in Hong Kong uses ice cubes as inspiration for a landmark tower, writes Yelena Smetannikov.

Cubus – Design Through Research


March 28th, 2011

Woods Bagot devotes 2% of its annual revenue to global research. It was originally Woods Bagot principal Stephen Jones’ research paper, ‘Treasure Towers’, that caught the developer’s attention, and was the catalyst for Cubus,  a new building in Hong Kong.

Jones wanted a memorable experience for visitors to the building.

Ice cubes were researched for their light-emitting and transparent qualities. These were transformed into simple geometries such as triangular shapes, using materials such as fritted glass.


“We looked for a visual concept that synthesised the entertainment and social aspects around a visual theme that would generate a strong form for the building, “ said Jones.

The pattern appears on the exterior in the form of lighting, as well as in the entry on a feature wall.

Like most urban plots in Hong Kong, the site was small, so Cubus had to be “inserted” into the urban fabric. It was elongated towards its primary street elevation to make the most of light and views, attracting attention through oblique views to retail areas close by.


Open decks at various levels of the building allow people to experience vistas of the city at different heights, also giving a unique outlook onto neighbouring towers.

The end result is a compact building that has turned its site constraints into opportunities.

“It celebrates the density, compression of activity and excitement that comes from living in a dense urban city,” said Jones.

Woods Bagot

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