Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China, 1985 — 1990


Client: Bank of China Hong Kong
Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Associate Architect: Sherman Kung & Associates Architects
Structural Engineer: LERA Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Official name: Bank of China Tower
Type: Skyscraper (Supertall +300 m.)
Budget: $130 Millions
Primary use: Offices
Surface: 135.000 sq m. / 1,453,128 ft sq
Floors: 72 + 4 of parking below ground
Architectural Height: 367,4 metes / 1.205 ft
Structure: Mixed, concrete and steel
Tipology: Hybrid Architecture
Architectural Style: Expressionism
Structural and Postmodern

Period: Last Period Technology (1985-current)
Photos: © Paul Warchol
Drawings: © LERA
Diagrams: ©

The Bank of China conducted back in 1982 commissioned a new Regional Headquarters for the city of Hong Kong to an important team of architects and engineers, with the particularity that the new building not only had to offer a significant hallmark, but also that they would have to devote at least 130,000 square feet of office space, 40% would occupy the offices of the bank, while the other surfaces could be used to rent. The enormous challenge of running a building so high at that time in Asia was very high considering the risk of typhoons, so common in this geographical area Asian, however, the budget of the work amounted to nothing less than $ 130 Million U.S. Dollars. For its iconic figure and edgy, the Bank of China has become not only one of the best skyscrapers in Hong Kong, but also the best in the world.

above, anti-dive spectacular view of the plaza level. The designer of the Bank of China was the architect IM Pei (* 1917), ethnic Chinese and American citizen, studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his degree in architecture in 1940, and then in 1946 his doctorate from the University Harvard. The renowned architect did major Pritzker Prize Nobel of Architecture in 1983, "The geometry has always been the basis of my architecture", IM Pei

left, great rendering of the Bank of China Tower. The innovative geometric postmodern facade consists of a curtain wall system with 10,000 pieces of reflective glass panels and silver anodized aluminum. With the design of the Mega-structure by beams (diagrid) diagonal loading was achieved in significantly reducing the use of steel; also withstand strong winds and typhoons.

The completion of each module is tilted a tetrahedron, that if we join together, form a pyramid, undisputed stamp Pei architecture based on geometry, such as the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris. The sloping roofs prisms upper end of each module of the facade favor the entry of natural light. Also, the Megastructure helps create open floor plans and therefore the office space can be freely distributed; below image of one of the interior. Several inner porches, perimeter and diagonal, consisting of steel tubes of circular section, connected to the main pillars of reinforced concrete part of the complex asymmetric structure of the tower.

On the lower level, the tower is set back from the street with, which helped create a nice walk surrounded by greenery and water, which greatly reduces the activity and noise of nearby traffic of this great Metropolis. The avant-garde design of the tower was inspired by Pei Feng Shui, meaning "wind and water" also "science and art". The geometric facade is inspired outbreaks of bamboo leaves, which in China represent prosperity and sustenance of life. "The Chinese Royals were the major drivers of Feng Shui; boosted their study, research and development, so that the practice was not available to everyone. Traditional learning method is based on the transmission of information from generation to generation through the close relationship between students and teachers, a method which still exists, especially in Hong Kong. "

Although Pei in his early works reflect a clear International Style, then be targeted on a very personal style based on geometry. The Bank of China Tower is encompassed within the last period technological skyscrapers, dating from 1985 to the present.

The Bank of China Hong Kong is considered the building "more aggressive in the world" in terms of Feng Shui. A curious fact is that building the edges of the facade of skyscrapers point in "direct attack" on Feng Shui language to the other buildings (banks) competitors they call this in China "poison arrows". The most relevant is the British architect Norman Foster, who when he designed the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank (HSBC Building) in the same city under the rules of Feng Shui, added on deck watching two huge cannons facing the building "attacker "Pei tower, as you can see in the picture above.

above, representative diagram which lists the seven tallest skyscrapers in the city of Hong Hong at present, from left to right are represented: International Commerce Center, 2 International Finance Centre, Central Plaza, Bank of China Tower, The Center, Nina Tower 1 & 2, and One Island East. The Bank of China Tower became the tallest building in the city of Hong Kong and across Asia between 1989 and 1992 was also the tallest building in the world outside the United States until it was completed the Central Plaza Hong Kong, which won the title in 1992. "The Bank of China Tower is a symbol of strength, vitality and growth."

The Bank of China building in Hong Kong has a real hallmark and great show of architectural geometry, due to structural expressionism of his skeleton, support tower, massive concrete columns reinforced with steel are reducing their section as which rise to the top. The Bank of China Tower, for its avant-garde iconic figure, is, along with the Two International Finance Centre of Cesar Pelli and the International Commerce Center of KPF Kohn Pedersen Fox,-that make new gateway to the city of Victoria Harbour-, one of the most recognizable buildings in the famous skyline of the city of Hong Kong.

above, the image of majestic atrium shower building. The tower is basically composed of four triangular modules of different heights to start with a square-shaped plant, however, the central pillar-building backbone and surprisingly-, starts from the 25th floor, down-level view the square.

Despite having an observation lookout called "Skydeck" on the 42nd floor offering great views of the area northwest of Hong Kong, Bank of China Tower WFGT not belong to the WFGT World Federation of Great Towers. The ceremony for the concreting of the Megastructure be held on August 8, 1988, the most auspicious date of the twentieth century, referring to 8 lucky number in this country. Construction of the tower began on April 18, 1985 and the official opening ceremony was held on May 17, 1990.

The tower design of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, authors of new tall buildings very interesting as Torre Espacio in Madrid or the Tour EDF in Paris, participating in the "Hong Kong Tourism Commission's Victoria Harbour Lighting Plan", a circuit organized by the Commission Victoria Harbour which takes a ferry ride across the bay Victoria for 18 of the most representative buildings of this important city.

The composite structure of concrete and steel is emphasized externally on the façade both vertices themselves in the edges of the inclined planes of the curtain wall by anodized aluminum profiles silver, this diamond-shaped pattern frames the 10,000 reflective glass panels 25 mm. thick which covered the huge facade of skyscrapers and, under the point of view from which to observe the building, the facade of dark tones changes color due to the reflection of the sky and clouds.

Other date of interest:
Budget: HK $ 1 billion ($ 130 Million)
Address: 1 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, China
Proposal: December 1982
Start of construction: May 1985
End Construction / Opening: March 1990
Status: Completed in use
Floors above ground: 72
Underground floors: 4 (370 parking spaces)
Total area: 135,000 m² / 1,453,128 ft ²
Number of lifts: 49
Structure: Mixed concrete and steel
Facade system: curtain wall
Facade material: Aluminum, glass and concrete
Architectural Height: 367.4 meters / 1,205 feet
Height of highest occupied floor: 288.3 meters
Overall Ranking: 20th in the world
Regional Ranking: 14 highest in Asia (excluding the Middle East)
City Ranking: 4 highest of Hong Kong
National Ranking 11 Chinese higher


left drawing axonometric Bank of China in Hong Kong. Leslie E. Robertson Engineer, —at the head of the prestigious engineering firm Leslie E. LERA Robertson Associates—, is the author of numerous structural design tall buildings and skyscrapers worldwide important as the Old World Trade Center in New York, the SWFC Shanghai World Financial Center in Shanghai, the Kio Towers in Madrid or the Espirito Santo Plaza in Miami, this important team of engineers Leslie Robertson in the lead, was responsible for the structural analysis of complex asymmetric Tower Bank of China Hong Kong.

arriba, plano de alzado lateral y sección. El edificio dispone de plantas técnicas repartidas cada 12 plantas. Asimismo, el banco dispone de un atrio de granito de color blanco de 17 niveles; abajo, algunos detalles del muro cortina de la fachada.

The four corners of the building at the base are made of reinforced concrete pillars were reinforced with metal profiles. This structure makes the gain in strength by absorbing the full weight of the megastructure proportionally distributing loads to the foundation.

above ground building structural scheme. The tower, which forms the shape of a square on the ground in the early levels, has four reinforced concrete pillars at the corners, triangular and square pairs. In addition, a fifth central pillar of irregularly shaped concrete starts from the 25th floor.

above, plant structure at different levels and main elevation. The diagrid Intricate beams (loaded diagonal) loads leads to the foundation of the building down side pattern (front) and diagonal (inside) of the concentration and reaction loads of each column.


Internazionale Marmi e Machine Carrara,
S. P. A.: Marble Architectural Award, East Asia
R. S. Reynolds Memorial Award
l'Association des Ingénieurs,
Conseils du Canada: Prix d'Excellence
New York Association of Consulting Engineers:
Award for Engineering Excellence
American Consulting Engineering Council:
Grand Award
Structural Engineers Association of Illinois:
Best Structure Award


Drawings: © LERA
Images: © Paul Warchol
Diagrams: ©
"Text" Copyright © José Miguel Hernández Hernández
Editor, Escritor y Fotógrafo de Arquitectura /
Publisher, Writer and Architectural Photographer
Todos los derechos reservados / All rights reserved

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