AIG Tower in Hong Kong

Photo of AIG Tower in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of AIG Tower in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of AIG Tower in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of AIG Tower in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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AIG Tower

美國國際集團大廈
1 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., Central Central
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

Sometimes it only takes a few touches to stand out from the crowd. The designers of AIG Tower know this, and apparently put the notion to work in their creation. In form, this is the classic glass box -- but modified. Tapered at the top and bottom on three sides, it is intended to evoke the shape of the sails of the traditional Chinese junks that once plowed through the swells of Victoria Harbor. Detractors, however, compare the overall shape to an early 80's mobile telephone; but criticism of its shape is uncommon, especially at night when special illumination turns the building from the form of a Chinese junk to that of a Chinese lantern. This is accomplished by lights that are actually inside the glass curtain wall, causing the building to glow from within.

Most detractors instead zero in on the giant offset video screens at the top of the building. These displays fill part of the space at the top of the building where the mechanical elements are, and help hide the unsightly bits. The animated logo displayed is that of the building's namesake. Instead of finding this an innovative method of branding, some consider it a crass commercial blaring across the skyline. Somehow they conveniently forget the hundreds of other illuminated signs fringing the top of scores of other Hong Kong buildings, and zero in on this one. But the sign has at least two interesting features. 1: It can be easily changed if the building's name changes; and 2: the animation is little more than a screen saver running on Microsoft Windows, and those with keen eyes have spotted people occasionally using the computer to check their e-mail, unknowingly telegraphing their personal lives to the entire city.

Still, in spite of its quirks, this building works unusually well. Its posture makes it seem much taller than its 40 stories, and its location should keep it visibly prominent in the skyline for some time to come.

Quick Facts
Notes
    > This building was designed by John Ostlund.
    > This building was a joint venture between AIG, CapitaLand, and Lai Sun Development.
    > This building is on the location where AIG opened its first office in Hong Kong in 1930.
    > The video screens at the top of the building reportedly contain 4,400,000,000,000 LEDs, but this has not been officially confirmed, and seems like a lot.
    > This building had an average construction speed of four days per floor.
    > While some web site incorrectly list this building as 39 or even 40-stories, it actually only has 36.
    > December, 2001 - Demolition of the Furama Hotel begins.
    > November, 2002 - Construction of the AIG Tower begins.
    > December 9, 2004 - Topping out of the AIG Tower.
    > May, 2005 - Building construction is completed.
    > October 6, 2005 - The AIG Tower opening ceremony.
Related Video
Did You Know?
    This was formerly the location of the Furama Hotel.
Rate This Skyscraper
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There is one comment.

  Mr Starr would have wanted something equal or even more extravagant than any existing skyscrapers in Hong Kong at that time. So I think demolishing the Furama hotel and putting this up as a landmark failed.

scirocco - Thursday, January 24th, 2008 @ 9:41am  

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