Science park for the public

L&O's Phase II of Hong Kong Science Park boasts an unprecedented ratio of public to built space.

ntegration of science and nature in HKSP Phase II.
ntegration of science and nature in HKSP Phase II.

L&O's Phase II of Hong Kong Science Park boasts an unprecedented ratio of public to built space.

The Hong Kong Science Park (HKSP)-planned to occupy 22 hectares and a gross area of 330,000m2 upon completion-was first commissioned by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1999.

Phase I construction of the science park began in 1999 while Phase II was completed in several phases between 2007 and 2008.

The first science-based master development in Hong Kong, the Phase II project comprises eleven buildings: two energy towers, two dedicated laboratory buildings, an auditorium and six R&D office buildings with laboratory facilities.

In an effort to keep the structures both philosophically and naturally consistent with the nature of a science park, lead consultant and architects Leigh & Orange (L&O) have incorporated futuristic design and combined highly finished glass, steel, aluminium and stonework into the building design.

"This is not the first hi-tech project L&O has completed but it is the first of its kind that creates both interesting envelopes for specific-use type buildings while providing a strong urban planning element, which actively enhances the architectural expression," explains George Kyriou, regional director of L&O Architects.

HKSP's orientation

The project is situated in the northeast New Territories region, within a designated development zone, which falls in the southernmost section of Pak Shek Kok reclamation area in Shatin.

The HKSP overlooks Tolo Harbour to the northeast and is the first science-related project in Hong Kong to combine R&D offices with laboratory facilities.

Unification of these core functions allows for total integration of HKSP's main industries which consist of precision engineering, information technology, biotechnology and electronics.

Not to be outdone by Hong Kong's abundance of dynamic architecture, HKSP aims to set benchmarks in urban planning as well as academic discovery.

The masterplan for HKSP provides a very high ratio of open space to built space in a region known worldwide for its density.

Elements including a man-made lake, a dramatic ovoid-shaped auditorium and extensive soft and hard landscaping throughout, allow occupants freedom and space for the development and exchange of ideas.

"Unlike other business or hi-tech parks around the world where the place is practically deserted after working hours and weekends, [HKSP] is buzzing with activity after hours and especially at weekends." says Kyriou.

The HKSP masterplan

The Master Layout Plan (MLP) represents an integrated design encompassing the already built Phase I, the newly built Phase II and the yet to be developed Phase III. Phase II uses a zone approach with clear divisions between the campus, core and corporate buildings.

The entire Phase II development is linked by a vehicular ring road that connects to Phases I and III via Phase II.

A central spine concept was adopted to provide a fully air-conditioned pedestrian walkway that connects Phase I with the future Phase III and provides a comfortable space where tenants from different industries can interact.

A central clubhouse, a business centre with conference facilities and retail and restaurant space is located along this central spine to provide further opportunities for interaction.

Orthogonal planning and careful orientation of the building blocks-particularly at the waterfront-enhances wide view-corridors that add value to all buildings and capitalise on HKSP's waterfront location.

Sub spaces define the aesthetic and character of the overall development by incorporating functional landscaped areas such as architectural courtyards, plazas, roads, walkways, a lake, an amphitheatre and green park spaces.

"There was much thought given to creating a sense of place-mainly for the external public areas-by introducing water features and carefully blending soft and hard landscaping elements," explains Kyriou.

Energy efficiency within HKSP Phase II

For irrigation of the soft landscaping, an intelligent irrigation system has been incorporated which balances rainwater intensity with irrigation requirements, ultimately reducing water consumption.

Hard landscaping makes use of permeable paviours that allow surface water to drain through the paving back into the ground rather than via an artificial drainage system.

When designing the facades, L&O incorporated insulated glass units (IGU's) with low-E coating for maximum thermal performance together with sun shading devices to achieve the required overall thermal transfer value (OTTV).

For the communal clubhouse, solar panels have been installed to provide supplementary heating to the clubhouse swimming pool. Flexibility in the planning and interior materials of the buildings allow for easy spatial re-organisation or future alteration.

This solution allows for minimal wastage in modification of office/laboratory space and combats energy loss during the process.

The two dynamic energy towers house the centralised air-conditioning systems for the whole of Phase II with ductwork run in dedicated service tunnels at basement level.

Zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) refrigerants are used for both chillers and heat pumps and rejected heat from the cooling plant is recovered to provide for space heating.

Interstitial floors were introduced within the laboratories to enable clustering of equipment, ease of maintenance and service upgrades, all without disruption to the tenants below. The centralised network of equipment also allows for the reduction of capital and management costs.

Photocell sensors have been installed in the lighting systems to reduce energy consumption and provide natural light through the use of a solar light tube (SLT). The SLT consists of a rooftop heliostat, which gathers and stores sunlight and then reflects it using internal mirrors.

In addition to the provision of shading devices for the sun-loaded faces, the facades that overlook the auditorium were designed with sun screens, which function as both passive sun shades and maintenance platforms.

The building facades are relatively simple and efficient. Sun shading elements, whether sloped or vertical, serve a specific need and are not merely external decoration," explains Kyriou.

The transformers serving the laboratory buildings have been remotely located in order to mitigate any adverse effects of both vibration and electromagnetic interference to the more sensitive technological industries within HKSP.

HKSP's core functions in Phase II

The HKSP is designed to be open for the enjoyment of the general public. To that end, cyclists from the adjoining cycle track and building occupants can mingle within and throughout Phase II's leisure areas and urban landscape.

The Central Lake and Waterfront Avenue employ a mix of soft and hard landscaping, seating and information kiosks and a tensioned fabric-covered Amphitheatre which can accommodate more than 200 people.

According to Leigh & Orange, these elements combine together to form a "park for the public".

Project Data - Hong Kong Science Park Phase II

Site Area (Phase II): 8 Hectares

Gloss Floor Area: 105,000m2

Construction Start: 2004

Completion in Phases: 2007 to 2008

Client: Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation

Lead Consultant: Leigh & Orange Ltd.

"Located outside the main HK conurbation-Hong Kong Island and Kowloon-Science Park fulfils two distinctly different but complementary functions," says Kyriou. "It provides a hi-tech research infrastructure facility and an outdoor recreational area for the staff and public.

A major focal point at the centre of the development is the free standing, ovoid-shaped auditorium located along the central spine.

The auditorium connects to a timber boardwalk, which is lined with indoor and al fresco dining areas on one side and gentle green grassy contours with a soft reed bed on the opposite side.

Underground parking allows for greater freedom for connectivity between buildings above ground. Subterranean parking also opens up public spaces and enables a much greater percentage of landscape to promote a park-like atmosphere.

According to the L&O philosophy, as technology and science continue to develop, adaptability to cater to the evolving space requirements of laboratories is a pre-requisite for a science park.

To achieve this, L&O adopted a modular concept as the universal building feature for the laboratories and decentralised cores. This facilitated a balance of requirements between laboratory and office space, both of which have been shown to change over time and extend the overall life of a building.

Despite the organic nature of the buildings themselves, function was always the core concept for HKSP's Phase II. "Form should and in this case certainly does follow function," says Kyriou.

Project team

Project Manager: Maunsell Consultants Asia Ltd.

Architect: Leigh & Orange Ltd.

Master Layout Plan: Leigh & Orange Ltd with Gensler (concept only).

Structural Engineer: Meinhardt (C&S) Ltd.

Building Services Engineer: Meinhardt (M&E) Ltd.

Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon & Seah Hong Kong Ltd.

Landscape Design: Urbis Ltd.

Specialist Facade: Meinhardt Facade Technology Ltd;

Environmental: Environmental Resources Management Ltd.

Special Signage: Watermark Associates.

Laboratory Design: LCE Archimed Ltd.

Concept Design: Leigh & Orange Ltd. with Gensler

IT/Telecommunications: Shen, Milson and Wilke, Ltd

Lighting Design: Light Directions Ltd

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