Gensler is a global architecture and design firm, with 46 offices and 4,500 employees worldwide. Gensler helps clients succeed by focusing on the needs of the people they serve, whether they are employees, customers, sports fans, students, passengers or guests. Gensler has deep expertise in design and architecture across 31 practices, including commercial office buildings, professional services, retail, aviation, planning and urban design, entertainment and hospitality, sports stadia and education facilities. The firm also holds practices focusing on brand strategy, environmental graphic design, mission-critical facilities, and has recently invested in consulting for real estate workplace and sustainable design.
Consistently ranked by U.S. and international industry surveys as the leading architecture and interior design firm, Genler leverage their resources and expertise to develop design solutions for industries across the globe.
Let’s check some of the largest projects of Hong Kong by Gensler and also take a look through the best of Asian architecture and interior design by Gensler.
Gensler – Hong Kong Team
Regional Operating Officer, Principal
Haiwen is a Principal and Regional Operating Officer of Gensler’s Asia Region. She oversees the firm’s operations in Bangalore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, as well as our established regional administrative bases in Shanghai and Singapore. Fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English, Haiwen integrates global knowledge of finance and international business across three continents with more than 20 years’ experience in both private industry and the Big 4 practices. She is a CPA and holds an MBA from the Manchester Business School (U.K.). Haiwen is an elected Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (U.K.).
Callum’s understanding of the Greater China market is grounded in his 25 years of experience working on the Mainland. Originally based in our London office, Callum brought the Gensler culture and spirit to China when he relocated for the role of Managing Director of Gensler Shanghai. During his eight-year tenure, that office grew from 15 to more than 150 professionals, and the practices expanded to encompass commercial office, mixed-use, government and retail buildings, as well as workplace interiors. In 2012 Callum spearheaded our newly established Hong Kong office. To ensure the successful growth of our practice, Callum has been actively involved with local chapters of international organizations such as the British Chamber of Commerce and ULI Asia. Callum received his B.Sc.Arch. and B.Arch. from University of Dundee and is a member of RIBA.
Ray Shick, AIA
Regional Managing Principal
As Regional Managing Principal for Gensler Asia Pacific, Ray directs our firm’s strategic project and client activities in Japan and China, as well as Gensler’s growing interests in India and Southeast Asia. Ray serves as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Management Committee. As a leader of Gensler’s international Retail Practice, Ray designed and developed new store, dealership and site prototypes for many of the largest manufacturers in the world. He earned a B.F.A. in Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Daniel W. Winey, FAIA, IIDA, LEED® AP
Regional Managing Principal
In his role as Regional Managing Principal for Gensler’s U.S. Northwest and Asia Pacific offices, Dan directs our design practices in Bangalore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Dan also serves on Gensler’s Management Committee and as Secretary of the Gensler Board of Directors. His 30-year career reflects his passion for responsible planning and international business leadership. In addition to lecturing internationally on “Creating Livable Cities,” Dan has provided resources to the San Francisco Mayor’s Green Building Task Force, which advises civic agencies on the construction of sustainably designed buildings. A Registered Architect, Dan is a member of CoreNet Global and the Urban Land Institute. He sits on the Bay Area Junior Achievement board, for which he actively participates in fundraising and events. Dan is a graduate in architecture of Lawrence Technological University and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.
In expanding their existing Wan Chai offices, Edelman came to Gensler to create an active workplace with a relaxed environment. In order to incorporate existing low ceilings into the design while still creating a feeling of spaciousness, the floor plate was opened, expanding and visually connecting the space— and boosting collaboration and productivity in the process. Completed on a limited budget, the reconfigured layout removed previous barriers between departments and relocated a conference room to increase its visibility. Although the number of desks was reduced, additional conference rooms and increased creative space accommodate both projected growth and teamwork—the crux of Edelman’s work process.
This three-tower, mixed-use commercial development was designed to fit its prominent Hangzhou location. In a planned mixed-use corridor along the major road connecting the airport with Downtown Hangzhou and West Lake, it is bordered by Zhejiang University’s main campuses and Huajiachi Lake. With a strong street presence, a range of retail pavilions and street shops creates a dynamic environment that is especially geared to the pedestrian experience and ground-level connections to the university and surrounding communities. Shimao Huajiachi celebrates the new wave of urban life in Hangzhou, but with views to the lakes and surroundings, it also commemorates the renowned natural beauty of this Yangtze River city.
Latham & Watkins sought a new identity in its Hong Kong offices that expressed its global reach. To this end, Gensler’s redesign focused on improving internal connectivity, incorporating secure conferencing areas and reducing the size of attorney offices; sophisticated architectural detailing further allowed for smaller private offices and workstations. The design team’s answer to the irregular perimeter was found in a very simple glass veil that fronts the conference room and interior offices, while expanding magnificent views of Victoria Harbour. Abstracted Chinese-inspired design was complemented by a limited but rich set of design elements, for an efficient workplace with the feel of a luxury hotel.
Milbank’s rapid growth throughout Asia meant that two key Asian offices needed to be expanded and moved simultaneously—within tight schedules and budgets. For our experience working with legal environments and in Asia, Milbank chose Gensler for both projects. The new Hong Kong office emphasizes the emerging culture of collaboration in the legal professions, incorporating room for teaming, information sharing and flexibility—while respecting the need for focus work. Lawyer lounges support fluid meetings and reduce the need for costly client-facing conference rooms. Break spaces are designed for comfortable sharing among professional, administrative and support staff, reinforcing the culture of collegiality and respect that is a hallmark of the firm.
The downtown area of Zhuhai-Jida enjoys the advantages of abundant natural resources and a prime location in the Pearl River Delta—an area of China soon to be connected to Hong Kong and Macau by a planned bridge. As an opportunity for the city to attract tourism and increase commercial activity, the project seeks to highlight urban experiences, which are currently dormant in the area, by linking neighboring Shihua Mountain to an existing seaside park through a connecting retail promenade. The project’s architectural aesthetic will reflect the area’s marine heritage and surrounding topographic forms.
The Most Iconic Project
Kunming’s Dianchi Lake has suffered from industrial and agricultural pollution for decades. Its clean-up became an opportunity to restore this heritage environment and create greater investment value to fund development and environmental solutions. Gensler’s plan—generated through a multi-disciplinary visioning process—centers on a new financial district that will focus density into a signature skyline surrounded by greenbelts and open space, with walkable, transit-oriented development at the lake edge. Polluted rivers will be concentrated into a series of water-cleaning canals, drawing wetlands deep into city to retrieve the Kunming identity. This mixed-use community, with dynamic waterfronts and culturally rich neighborhoods, will revive a shared civic pride.
Gensler asked: Can China create better cities? And the answer came with an interesting study that was presented:”China’s Spaces In BetweenWe conducted an investigation into an overlooked aspect of China’s current mixed-use development paradigm that is also a key part of the soul of its cities: the spaces in between. From outdoor cafés to pocket parks, these are spaces with elements whose value is not easily measured, yet their inclusion can generate projects with positive returns while building a sense of community. In order to quantify these elements, our Shanghai-based team combined personal interviews from citizens, developers, the government, and designers to investigate how urban spaces have evolved over China’s history and to analyze existing mixed-use centers to develop measures for success. Our investigation explored multiple factors, such as programming and curation, user demographics, program mix, and rental rates, among others. Our goal was to arrive at key spatial traits and quantify them to aid in our design work of activating China’s evolving cities.
In the past 30 years, 600 million of China’s citizens have been lifted above the poverty line as large-scale urbanization has occurred at a rate unprecedented in human history. According to a 2013 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, China increased its urban residential population by nearly half a billion in that time, creating a total of 700 million, which represents over half of the Chinese population. By the 2030s, more than two-thirds of China is expected to live in urban areas. This represents an expected migration of over 300 million people from rural to urban areas over a 20-year period. Shanghai, China’s most populous city, has created an entirely new skyline to accommodate this growth and rapid change.The opportunity to build resilient and livable urban spaces for this growing population may only occur once in this century. Along with its population, China’s heart and soul will increasingly be found in its cities. The responsibilities of managing this growth are great and the potential impact even greater. We believe that a key aspect of this opportunity is addressing the design of mixed-use spaces—particularly the urban spaces in which people gather and commune. As designers, we have a mandate to activate these spaces to strengthen the connective fabric that unifies China’s cities. As players in China’s multifaceted world, we embrace the responsibility of working with the government and developers to make this a reality.
The evolution of China’s urban planning strategy is dramatic, often paralleling broader cultural and political shifts. Walled cities dominated development through the mid-20th century, giving way to “unit style” courtyards and central plazas after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. During and following the Cultural Revolution, large-scale open squares were created in city centers, later leading to the development of parks and new public spaces at an even larger scale which served to break the restrictive bounds of earlier systems. In the late 20th century, formal development programs gave way to rapid, unconnected development including disparate building and open space typologies characterized by superblocks, skyscrapers, and elevated highways.We believe that recent development paradigms often neglect the spaces in between, and that these spaces can be reinvigorated with intelligent design intervention and strategy. Through our investigation, a suite of previously unmeasured elements emerged that began to define success—from the preservation and integration of history, culture, and art, to strategies that ensure seamless connections to nature and human scale. The need for such spaces will increase as urbanization continues at a rapid pace. The result is a win-win-win, improving the developer’s bottom line, providing a necessary amenity for Chinese urban communities, and supporting government planning policies.
What this means
Approach urban space holistically. Our research reveals that the spaces in between are best realized when implemented as part of development strategies in which elements come together in synergy instead of being added piecemeal.Preserve China’s built history. Rapid urbanization and increases in density need to be balanced by the continual integration of green space within mixed-use programs.Create connections to nature. A homogenized approach to urban development not only challenges the preservation of China’s historic buildings but overlooks the existing and vibrant spirit of places.Integrate cultural activities. Rapid urbanization and increases in density need to be balanced by the continual integration of green space within mixed-use programs.Design at the human scale. Skyscrapers, superblocks, and elevated highways challenge the experience of China’s cities at the scale of the individual. To keep urban spaces seamlessly accessible, the spaces in between must be designed to create engaging, multilevel experiences with easy connectivity for those on foot.What’s next?
This investigation represents the first part of an ongoing research effort aimed at improving the quality of China’s cities and built form. In our first stage, we identified fundamental spatial elements in the spaces in between that we believe lead to more successful urban community space. We have begun to present these findings at conferences, via one-on-one conversations with key stakeholders, and through our ongoing China-based projects.
TEAM – Shamim Ahmadzadegan, Lin Jia, Ray Shick
YEAR COMPLETED – 2015″
Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame (first award to a firm)
USGBC Leadership Award, 2005
AIA Firm of the Year, 2000
See also: TOP ARCHITECTS | ANDREA BRANZI
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