Highcliff in Hong Kong

Photo of Highcliff in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Few cities face a land crunch as accute as Hong Kong. And few towers in Hong Kong deal with the problem as gracefully as Highcliff. Though the skyscraper is backed into a cliff, it has no implicit back or front. The tower is formed from a pair of intersecting oval cylinders which provide sweeping views of the city, Victoria Harbour, and the lush mountain.

To say this is a luxury building is an understatement. When it opened, it had just 131 units, with an average size of 3,000 square feet. On a footprint as small as Highcliff's, that means just two homes per floor, and thus spectacular views for all residents. It also means views for many neighbors were preserved. In constrast to so very many Hong Kong apartment complexes, Highcliff is a shimmering 60-foot-wide low-profile object d'art, rather than a monsterous cliff-side wall, blocking out the sun. This design also means minimal impact at ground level. Instead of having building facilities clustered at the bottom, there is a curving driveway leading from the access road, surrounded by landscaping, and a pool.

Quick Facts
  • Passenger elevators: 3
  • Freight elevators: 1
  • 2006: Named Residential Development of the Year by the South China Morning Post/Harper's Bazaar StyleAwards
  • Architecture firm: Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man Architects & Engineers
  • At the time of its completion, this was the tallest apartment building in Hong Kong.
  • At the time of its completion, this was the tallest all-residential building in the world.
  • Because of the way this building moves in the wind, the cladding and glass is screwed on.
  • Because of the steep slope this building is built on, the main entrance is actually on the ninth floor.
  • A series of water tanks at the top of the building act as a passive mass dampener, reducing the amount of swaying in strong wind.
  • The top four residential floors of this building are single units, and include a steam room, sauna, a library, two jacuzis, four bedrooms, five bathrooms (one with separate his and hers toilets) and a maid's room.
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Towrs: Highcliff

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