Bank of China (Hong Kong) Building in Hong Kong

Photo of Bank of China (Hong Kong) Building in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Bank of China (Hong Kong) Building in Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Bank of China (Hong Kong) Building

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Often confused with the nearby, and far more famous, Bank of China (Hong Kong) Tower, this small skyscraper is a wonderful piece of history in the middle of the glass-and-neon forest of central Hong Kong. It evokes a time long ago when the Orient was far more exotic and forbidden, and Westerners arrived by ship in Hong Kong and Shanghai to arrange trade deals in the waning days of the British Empire. Of course, the Chinese government saw it very differently when it was completed in 1950. The Art Deco masterpiece was seen as a symbol of Chinese prosperity and planning for the future. Perhaps they were right, as 50 years later China is poised to become the world's next great superpower while Britain's empire is more and more becoming an historical footnote.

At any rate, this is a proper Art Deco skyscraper with a curved podium to match its location at a bend in the street, a prominent shaft with vertical elements made more prominent by having the recessed parts a darker color, and finally the crown with setbacks that make the building appear taller than it is when viewed from the ground.

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    There is an urban legend which states that a large bank vault door was custom-made for this building in the United States, but was never delivered because of tension between the American and Chinese governments. The popular notion is that the door remains in storage somewhere in California still waiting to be delivered.
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