Hong Kong, China

Located in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, close to Kwun Tong MTR station and the Kwun Tong waterfront, KOHO’s existing building was built in 1980 as a wool factory. A standard industrial building at the time, this was a 12-storey development with loading and unloading facilities on the ground floor and no lift service to the top floor.

KOHO was conceived under a Hong Kong government initiative to revitalize under-used industrial buildings through wholesale conversion projects. The initiative aims to transform existing industrial buildings into a commercial developments while maintaining the internal and external characteristics of the buildings as much as possible, with the only amendments to the layout being made to cater for current building regulations and to enhance services.

The 12-storey KOHO building now has a total gross floor area of approximately 19,000 sq. m.. The podium runs from the ground to the third floor, with office floors from the fourth to the 12th floors.

The most significant changes were upgrades made to the existing façades at the front and rear of the building – changing from high-level slot windows to a full-height window wall system to maximise natural light and ventilation. Other changes included relocating stairs to meet current building regulations; maintaining existing light wells but introducing new windows to provide natural lighting to the office areas; and creating open-plan office layouts. Other than these, the spatial layout on typical floors and the structural columns and column heads – a signature feature of this factory building – were all largely maintained, acknowledging the existing building’s industrial past.

The wholesale conversion process is highly sustainable: with full demolition and re-build unnecessary, less construction material was needed, existing fabrics and fixtures were reused and construction wastage was reduced – creating a much lower environmental impact while providing a refreshed and renewed building for the district.