Residence Bel-air's cluster of eight towers stands at the gateway to a new technology district between the south-westerly slopes of The Peak and the South China Sea. With flexible office space for start-up companies, connected to a state-of-the-art communications network, the Cyberport district is intended as a hub for creative digital industries in the region. For the Bel-air residential quarter, the design concept draws on both a combination of European precedents – the Royal Crescent in Bath and the urban edge of the French Riviera – and Hong Kong’s contemporary vernacular of breathtaking vertical living.
The towers rise to forty-one storeys and are arranged in pairs in a wide, undulating curve, which suggests a wave form lapping against the mountain side. Smaller ripples of projecting balconies take advantage of sunlight and uninterrupted sea views, while creating an offset arrangement of living spaces to enhance privacy. Visually, the buildings are unified by projecting brizes soleils, which follow the contours of the facade – a formation that softens the building’s apparent mass, shades the living spaces and reflects daylight into the apartments. The brizes soleils extend to the top of the building, masking the plant rooms to create a clean silhouette. The vertical scale is further articulated by mid-level terraces, which are form deep ‘windows’ in the facade. The service cores are placed on the mountain elevation and curved to integrate discreetly with the facade.
At ground level, the crescent of towers encloses a landscaped podium of palm trees and oval swimming pools, which step down towards the waterfront. Respecting the surrounding urban context, the combination of careful massing and landscaped grounds enhances views from the existing developments to the rear of the site. Each of the double-height entrance lobbies features a unique water feature, subtly emphasising the identity of each pair of towers, while glazed walls create a visual connection with the podium gardens beyond.