The opening ceremony of the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition (the Expo) was held in Yanqing, Beijing recently, with the participation of as many as 110 countries and international organisations. China’s 31 provincial-level cities, as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have also set up their exhibition zones. This time, I have invited two colleagues from the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) who are responsible for the planning, design and construction of the Hong Kong Garden to introduce us the design concept and architectural features.
Design concept of Hong Kong – The City of Contrast
Located in the Expo’s 503-hectare exhibition zone, the Hong Kong Garden has an area of about 2 000 square metres. To echo the Expo's theme “Live Green, Live Better” this year, our team has come up with “Hong Kong-The City of Contrast” as the design concept. The garden juxtaposes two contrasting conditions: the representation of a legible urban fabric and hyper dense condition in Hong Kong and its serene agricultural rural environment. The Hong Kong Garden invite visitors to unveil the multi-faceted experience of Hong Kong.
Integration of various architectural features
Senior Architect of the ArchSD, Mr LAW Sin-hang, Billy, introduces us to the Hong Kong Garden which mainly comprises three components: the Architectural Pavilion, the Artistic Feature Wall and the Horticultural Garden. The pavilion was made of materials commonly used at construction sites in Hong Kong such as the I-beam, bamboo scaffolding, steel mesh and wooden board. Among other features, the façade facing the Horticultural Garden is in the form of overlaying of semi-transparent steel reinforcement meshes, imitating the enclosures that are universal at construction sites in Hong Kong. The design reflects the close relationship between Hong Kong's construction industry and its urban development, and marks the continuous transformation and development of the city.
On entering the Architectural Pavilion, you will see many neon-light signages of Hong Kong’s traditional shops. Through the street view unique to Hong Kong, visitors can feel the city’s bustling vibe. To promote active greening in a limited urban space the pavilion is infiltrated with a number of green elements such as vertical greening and bamboo. Furthermore, the Hong Kong Garden has adopted an inclusive design with facilities including pedestrian ramps and handrails, to ensure that the pavilion and other areas are universally accessible.
Unique day and night views
The Expo comprises a number of gardens and exhibition zones. Located in an apparent location, the Hong Kong Garden sits midway between the China Pavilion and the International Pavilion. Taking advantage of this strategic location, the architectural team has set up the 7-metre-tall and 28-metre-wide Artistic Feature Wall at the corner site, which attracts a significant number of visitors. The wall features a vertical map revealing the unique urban fabric along the transect of the Victoria Harbour with iconic buildings highlighted, such as the International Finance Centre, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Central Government Offices and the Legislative Council Building. The lighting effect of the Feature Wall offers visitors an aerial view of Hong Kong’ dazzling night scene, as opposed to its equally unique day view.
Creating the feeling of a Secret Garden
Regarding the Horticultural Garden, Chief Landscape Architect of the ArchSD, Mr MUI Tung-king, Tony, says that the garden has adopted a simple straight row design, which complements not only the geometrical layout of the Architectural Pavilion but also imitates the farmland. To celebrate one of the sub-themes, “Horticulture in Life”, of the Expo, the team has adopted the concept of urban farming, grouping together edible and medicinal plants for landscape design, such as sage, foxglove and delphinium, as well as other common ornamental species. It highlights the aesthetic values of edible and medicinal plants, and may hopefully arouse city dwellers’ interest in urban farming.
Mr Tony MUI says that it is a process of exploration for people to visit the garden and the team has used junipers, which are about as tall as an average person, as hedges to separate space in order to create the feeling of a secret garden. The secret garden resembles a peaceful, pocket space with different kinds of plants, similar to many spaces within the city of Hong Kong that allow urbanites to unwind amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.
Hong Kong is a high-density city with distinctive natural scenery. The rural areas are nice and close to the city. My thanks go to the team of the ArchSD for their effort to integrate the completely different urban and rural environments into the Hong Kong Garden to showcase to the world the unique glamour of Hong Kong. For those of you who are interested in visiting the Expo in Beijing, please don’t forget to show your support to the Hong Kong Garden. The Expo runs until 7 October this year.
26 May, 2019Back