HKU Knowles Building

HKU Knowles Building

Eric Cumine
Pokfulam Road

The Knowles Building is home to the Architecture Department at the University of Hong Kong and there are several stories surrounding its disorienting nature. Myths tell horror stories about how visitors often fail to find their way out in this mysterious building.  These urban legends have a basis in truth. Knowles Building has a different floor plan for each of its 12 floors. There are minimal interior structures, allowing each floor to have space and flexibility for different layouts. As a result, the building can effectively accommodate different needs from small offices to lecture halls to a spacious wood workshop studio.  A classic modernist architecture, the building doesn’t undermine the building’s functionality of making bells and whistles. At the same time, however, it may have been a challenge for designers to plan a floor layout for the bulk of the building. The pragmatic nature of the construction is also reflected in its façade.  The bulkiness of its structure is balanced by its grid-like white brise-soleil (the external shading structure).  At the same time, the different sizes and shapes of the brise-soleil create a unique pattern that offers different levels of shading throughout the building. With the lack of frames and walls on the two basement floors, it “lifts” the entire structure upward and creates a visual illusion of a floating building. 



Posted on

21 July, 2020


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