The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong is the regional hub for ambitious research, education, and collaboration and an important addition to the University’s international presence and engagement. Situated on an extremely steep, heritage-protected hillside of Mount Davis at the western end of Hong Kong Island, the design was inspired by the site’s challenging topography, its magnificent panorama across the sea, and the scattered remnants of its past as a former military facility and a detention centre.
The design mandate was to respect both the existing heritage buildings and the complex natural landscape, including the site’s public hiking trails. To achieve this, we decided to float the new building above the historical relics and the lush landscape. The resultant design presents a curvilinear form that gently weaves the academic program into the contours of the site’s difficult terrain, touching down only at points of least intrusion, and bridging the heritage blocks to seamlessly reconcile old and new, natural and man-made. Its fluid design, accentuated by generous glazing and rhythmic sun-screens, carefully respects the site’s unique setting and abundant foliage while gently embracing the memory-laden masses of its historic past, some of which have been repurposed and incorporated into the new facility.
The new facility—awarded a prestigious Prix Versailles as one of the world’s most beautiful campuses—elegantly celebrates the University of Chicago’s international presence and its partnership with the wider Hong Kong community.