The Jockey Club Innovation Tower is an academic building that houses Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design. You’re probably no stranger to it, though – designed by Pritzker-prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, the Innovation Tower stirred up a huge buzz when the project leaked into public ears. It’s a must-see if you’re in Hong Kong.
The first time I learned about Zaha Hadid was during the second year of my architecture degree. Her Landesgartenschau design had been the reference for my mid-term project. At that time, I simply took my tutor’s suggestion to use the design for inspiration – I had no idea that Zaha Hadid was such a well-known architect. It was only after some research did I find out that she was one of the world’s most famous designers. Since then, I’ve followed her work closely, so it came as no surprise that the Jockey Club Innovation Tower was on my priority to-do list when it officially opened in 2014!
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Against the red brick towers of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower is unmistakable even from a distance. The building is located at the northwestern tip of the university and houses classrooms, design studios, labs, exhibition areas and a communal viewing lounge. With a vision of transforming the university campus using its architecture, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, like many of the newer academic buildings in the area around it, stands out unabashedly amongst its neighbours, reflecting the growth of the institution through the years.
Covering a net floor area of 15,000 square metres with over 15 storeys, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower’s design welcomes in the public using a fluid podium level design that doubles as an open public foyer. This composition is repeated throughout the building to draw users to the inside. A flowing movement between the interior and exterior creates informal gathering spaces, encouraging interaction and communication between professors, students and visitors.
Inside, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower is a myriad of zigzags that come together to form voids used as teaching spaces. The inner walls are kept minimal and white in colour to balance out the irregular form of the building, which means every turn is a #whiteaddict’s dream. It’s no wonder that the Jockey Club Innovation Tower is a photography hotspot on every channel of social media platform!
Heed my advice when visiting: avoid the trouble of the bus lines and take the underground. The closest MTR station to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University is MTR Hung Hom Station, but if getting on the East Rail Line is too much of a hassle, the institution is a walkable distance from MTR Jordan Station as well. Unlike the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre at the City University of Hong Kong, another outstanding academic building, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower doesn’t require hiking up a hill to get to. This should be a huge sigh of relief to the lazy non-exercisers like me! 😉
I’ve been to the Jockey Club Innovation Tower multiple times, both on weekdays for class visits during my undergraduate degree in architecture, and on weekends with my friends for leisure. Since the architectural icon is housed in a university, there are actually fewer people around on Saturdays and Sundays when classes are not in session. If you’ve ever wanted to see Zaha Hadid’s work, there’s no excuse not to go. I mean, we’re talking a stunning piece of architecture by a world-famous architect here. Throw in the fact that it’s every architect’s dream combo: concrete on the outside and a snow white on the inside – and the deal’s done before you even say it.
Jockey Club Innovation Tower
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 2766 5454
Other great architectural buildings you must see:
- Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre, JCCAC
- Long Museum West Bund
- Police Married Quarters, PMQ
- Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre
- Serpentine Pavilion
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