The iconic Metropolis was one of the first transport-oriented developments in Hong Kong, and helped to define the urban redevelopment of the entire Hung Hom area.
The Metropolis is made up of a five-storey podium which with a shopping centre and car park, an office tower, a hotel with 690 guestrooms (the Harbour Plaza Metropolis), and two serviced apartment buildings (The Metropolis Residence).
All structures were built above a five-hectare freight yard adjacent to the Hung Hom rail complex and the Hong Kong Coliseum. Hong Kong Polytechnic University is within walking distance, via covered walkways, of the complex.
The site was challenging to work with – the presence of Princess Margaret Road meant only three ha. could be used for building development – a linear design was used to maximise efficiency. To minimise the block effect of the four towers, each building was made a different shape to achieve a “step down” effect to the waterfront – the two serviced apartment blocks stand between a 16-storey elliptical office tower and the 12-storey high hotel.
The transport hub was important to Hong Kong in the mid-1990s, when The Metropolis was designed, and is even more important today. It integrates pedestrian and vehicular flows between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom, connecting three different means of local transportation (bus, railway and taxi), as well as an important railway hub for traffic from mainland China.
The retail podium is encased by a five-storey transparent glass box which highlights the pedestrian links and creates a dramatic entrance to the complex. At night, its strategically-placed light fixtures and transparent façades allow it to shine like a lantern, revealing the activity inside and enticing pedestrians and motorists to visit. A landscaped garden on the podium roof also provides greening for this first-generation mini-city.