Langham Place in Kowloon

Photo of Langham Place in Kowloon, Hong Kong S.A.R.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Langham Place
Official name:Langham Place Office Tower

8 Argyle Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong S.A.R., Mong Kok
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

A blue shimmering tower soaring high over the tenements, street markets, and open-air slaughterhouses of Kowloon. This building helps demonstrate the contrasts that typify modern day Hong Kong. On the one hand, Kowloon remains a vibrant, bustling, overcrowded district studded with amazing sights and horrifying smells. On the other hand is the reality of the New China: soaring palaces of glass, steel, and swank typified by skyscrapers like the Langham Place Office Tower.

This is appropriate because the entire Langham Place was conceived as an urban renewal project. At the time of its completion, this was the largest urban renewal project in Hong Kong's history, combining an office tower, mall, and hotel. The area used to be known as "Mong Kok Six Streets," a run down area where six-thousand people lived in crowded apartments. Those people were given cash settlements, and relocated to other parts of the city to make way for this futuristic development which took 16 years to put together because so many properties had to be purchased from so many different owners.

The skyscraper is situated at the intersection of Mong Kok's two busiest streets -- Argyle, and Shanghai. An appropriate representation of Hong Kong at the crossroads of its British past and Chinese future.

The building's curves are sweeping, but its height makes up for what could have been a liability. Instead of appearing bulbous, it is sinuous, tactile, and sexy. This building is to Kowloon what Mac OS X is to computers: undeniably "lickable."

Quick Facts
    > This was the first large skyscraper built in Mong Kok since the relocation of the old Hong Kong airport.
    > January 25, 2005 - This building officially opens.
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