In a city like Hong Kong that's largely shaped by its density—where space is tight and often has to be improvised—you can wind up with surreal results. Outdoor escalators soar above streets and sidewalks. Pocket parks wedge themselves into the unlikeliest places. And in the case of a recent gallery and office renovation by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, the project involved workers' lowering millwork through windows from the roof of a 30-story building.
Based in Toronto, Shim-Sutcliffe is known for its exacting attention to detail and spatial tectonics. But its assignment, in Hong Kong's busy Causeway Bay area, was to renovate a three-level interior in a 1980s office tower that didn't offer scope for much of either. The ceilings were low, the curtain wall unremarkable. Floor plates were crammed with elevators, fire stairs, and other service areas. The clients, a financial trader and his philanthropist wife, wanted the 48,400-square-foot space to be a fitting multi-use home for their trading firm, art foundation, and growing holdings of blue-chip contemporary art. “They wanted a place to show their collection,” says Shim. “But the existing space wasn't very nice, so we were limited with what we could do.”
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