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Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong) and Feng Shui

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong) and Feng Shui Reply with quote

Bank of China Tower (Hong Kong)

It should not be confused with Bank of China Building (Hong Kong).

Status      Complete
Type      Commercial offices
Location      1 Garden Road, Central
Hong Kong, China
Construction started      18 April 1985
Completed      1990
Architectural      367.4 m
Roof      315.0 m
Top floor      288.3 m
Technical details
Floor count      72
4 below ground
Floor area      135,000 m2
Lifts/elevators      49
Design and construction
Architect      I. M. Pei & Partners
Sherman Kung & Associates Architects Ltd. Thomas Boada S.L.
Structural engineer      Leslie E. Robertson Associates RLLP
Main contractor      HKC (Holdings) Limited
Kumagai HK

The Bank of China Tower (abbreviated BOC Tower) is one of the most recognisable skyscrapers in Admiralty, Hong Kong. It houses the headquarters for the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited.


Bank of China by night

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I. M. Pei, the building is 315.0 m  high with two masts reaching 367.4 m  high. The 72-storey building is located near Central MTR station. This was the tallest building in Hong Kong and Asia from 1990 to 1992, the first building outside the United States to break the 305 m (1,000 ft) mark, and the first composite space frame high-rise building. That also means it was the tallest outside the United States from its completion year, 1990. It is now the fourth tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, after International Commerce Centre, Two International Finance Centre and Central Plaza.

Massing model showing the shape of the Bank of China Tower. The labels correspond to the number of 'X' shapes on each outward facing side.

The building consists of four triangular glass and aluminum towers, all of varying heights, which emerge triumphantly from a beautiful granite podium. The geometric changes that take place as the building rises toward the sky are the most intriguing aspect of the tower. The angles and sharp points are aesthetically interesting - a contrast to the plain architecture that dominates the city - and the silver reflective glass used in the tower creates dancing points of light, both on sunny days as well as at night, when Hong Kong is aglow with all sorts of artificial light.

A small observation deck on the 43rd floor of the building is open to the public.Inside, the atrium is a soaring 14 stories tall and visitors can take a quick elevator ride up to the skydeck on the 42nd floor, where they'll be provided with great views of downtown Hong Kong and beyond.

Bank of China Tower Lobby on Ground Floor

The structural expressionism adopted in the design of this building resembles growing bamboo shoots, symbolising livelihood and prosperity. The whole structure is supported by the five steel columns at the corners of the building, with the triangular frameworks transferring the weight of the structure onto these five columns. It is covered with glass curtain walls.

While its distinctive look makes it one of Hong Kong's most identifiable landmarks today, it was the source of some controversy at one time, as the bank is the only major building in Hong Kong to have bypassed the convention of consulting with feng shui masters on matters of design prior to construction.

Feng Shui Assessment
The building has been criticised by some practitioners of feng shui for its sharp edges and its negative symbolism by the numerous 'X' shapes in its original design, though Pei modified the design to some degree before construction following this feedback.

The tower is considered to have some of the worst feng shui in town. Some say that because the building thins at the top, it resembles a screwdriver—one that's drilling the wealth out of Hong Kong; others prefer the metaphor of a knife into the heart of the SAR (Special Administrative Region). The two antennas sticking out of the top are said to resemble the two incense sticks burned for the dead. Circles, which look like coins, bring prosperity. The opposite effect is supposedly caused by the building's triangular angles and sharp edges—indeed, many believe that it has had a negative effect on nearby structures. The Lippo Centre, which faces one of the triangles, was formerly the Bond Centre, owned by disgraced Australian businessman Allen Bond, who was forced to sell the building because of financial troubles. Local gossip has it that Government House—still the residence of colonial governors when the bank was built—was the target of these bad vibes. After the 1997 handover, Hong Kong's first chief executive, Tung Chee-Hwa, refused to live there, citing its bad feng shui.

The building's profile from some angles resembles that of a meat cleaver. In Feng Shui, this is described as a cleaver building. The Bank of China Tower is considered the "most aggressive [building] in the world" in terms of Feng Shui, as the edges of the triangles at the front point to its competitors. This is what the Chinese call, in language Feng Shui, "direct attack".

While all the adjacent buildings carried out practices of Feng Shui to protect themselves, the most famous case is the HSBC Bank building, designed by Norman Foster. Atop this building and pointing toward the Bank of China Tower are two metal rods that look like a window-washing apparatus. The rods are a classic feng shui technique designed to deflect the negative energy—in this case, of the Bank of China's dreaded triangles—away and back to its source.

The Architect
Renowned Chinese architect I. M. Pei is responsible for the amazing design of the Bank of China Tower. Born in 1917 to a wealthy Chinese family, Pei studied his craft in the United States, earning his degree from the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology and continuing his studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

During the 20th century, Pei was responsible for the design of some of the world's most magnificent buildings, including the East Building of Washington's National Gallery of Art, Cleveland's Rock and
Bank of China Tower at night
Roll Hall of Fame, the John F. Kennedy Library and, most notably, the expansion and modernization of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Pei is the recipient of an extensive list of awards from countries and organizations worldwide, including the prestigious Medal of Freedom, presented to him in 1993.


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_China_Tower_%28Hong_Kong%29
  • http://www.fodors.com/world/asia/china/hong-kong/feature_30006.html
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