Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters

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Height: To Tip
178.8 m / 587 ft
Height: Architectural
178.8 m / 587 ft
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters Outline
Floors Above Ground
Floors Below Ground
# of Elevators
Tower GFA
99,171 m² / 1,067,468 ft²


Official Name Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters
Other Names HSBC Main Building
Structure Type Building
Status Completed
Country China
City Hong Kong
Street Address & Map 1 Queens Road Central
Building Function office
Structural Material steel
Construction Start 1983
Completion 1985

Companies Involved

Owner/Developer HSBC
Design Foster Associates
Structural Engineer
Design Arup Associates; Cleveland Bridge Ltd.
MEP Engineer
Design J. Roger Preston Limited
Other Consultant
• Cost Rider Levett Bucknall
• Quantity Surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall; WT Partnership
• Wind Alan G. Davenport Wind Engineering Group
Material Supplier
• Elevator Otis Elevator Company

About Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters

As the formal exchange of power away from British control in Hong Kong was approaching, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank wanted to make a bold statement when the need for a new headquarters was conceived. Planning began in the 1970’s with the need to construct over one million square feet of space (92,903 square meters), all of which needed to be built quickly with a very tight construction schedule. The project would also need to address the nature of banking in Hong Kong and adherence to Feng Shui principles.

All of these factors led to the design of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters in a method which rethought how an office tower should be composed. The short construction schedule required prefabrication of many building components in a global supply chain sourced from the United Kingdom, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy all then assembled in Hong Kong. The open space needs of the bank led to the placement of elevators, stairways and building services at the ends of the office floors, rather than in the typical center of the floorplate. The building then took on a rectilinear form, with the broad sides capturing views of the mountains and Victoria Harbour while the floors were suspended between the cores and pairs of steel masts located at the ends of the building.

The building’s floor space is then broken down as a series of three office towers rising to 29, 36 and 44 levels, all arranged around a central indoor atrium with blocks of office floors clustered as a series of vertically stacked villages. The boundaries of the office clusters are visually expressed on the exterior of the building as well, with large triangular trusses framing double height floors which serve as communal areas. A mirrored sun scoop reflects natural daylight into the atrium and through a glass ceiling between the interior of the atrium and an open-air public plaza below that has since become a popular gathering spot for picnics on weekends. A pair of escalators then links the plaza to the banking hall elevated above the ground level.

The flexibility of the open floor plans has allowed the company to adapt the spaces since the building has opened, including the construction of a dealers room into one floor which could not have been added within a conventional office building with a traditional column grid. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters has become local icon, achieving the original goal of creating a headquarters in a unique tower that would become a long lasting landmark in Hong Kong as the modern skyline has rapidly grown up around it.

CTBUH Initiatives

Ken Shuttleworth: A Journey of Design and Discovery
17 Aug 2016 – Event Report

CITAB-CTBUH Name 2016 China Tall Building Award Recipients
25 Feb 2016 – CTBUH News


Foster in China
31 Oct 2008 – Chris Abel

Research Papers

Tall Buildings in Numbers: 50 Years of Tall Building Evolution
Oct 2019 – CTBUH Journal 2019 Issue IV

An Overview of Structural & Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing & Diagrid Systems
1 Dec 2016 – International Journal of High-Rise Buildings Volume 5 Number 4

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