Sunday, September 1, 2013
HSBC Main Building
HSBC Main Building is a headquarters building of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which is today a wholly owned subsidiary of London based HSBC Holdings. It is located along the southern side of Statue Square near the location of the old City Hall, Hong Kong (built in 1869, demolished in 1933). The previous HSBC building was built in 1935 and pulled down to make way for the current building. The address remains as 1 Queen's Road Central.
The first HSBC (then known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited) building was Wardley House, used as HSBC office between 1865 to 1882 on the present site. In 1864 the lease cost HKD 500 a month. After raising a capital of HKD 5 million, the bank opened its door in 1865. It was demolished in 1886 and rebuilt in the same year.
The main feature of the second building design was the division of the structure into two almost separate buildings. The building on Queen's Road Central was in Victorian style with a verandah, colonnades and an octagonal dome, whereas the arcade which harmonised with the adjacent buildings was constructed on Des Voeux Road.
In 1935, the second building was demolished and a third design was erected. The third design used part of the land of the old City Hall, and was built in a mixed Art Deco and Stripped Classical style. During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the building served as the government headquarters. Locally, it was the first building in Hong Kong to be fully air-conditioned.
By the 1970s the bank had outgrown its headquarters; departments were scattered into offices all over Central Hong Kong, and it was obvious that such a "solution" to the space limitations could not continue indefinitely. In 1978 the bank decided to tear down its headquarters and rebuild it again. The building was finished on November 18, 1985. At the time, it was the most expensive building in the world (c.a.HK$5.2 billion, roughly US$668 million).
The first major addition to the building, designed by Hong Kong's One Space Ltd, was completed on November 23, 2006, in the form of a ground floor lobby that improves security access to the upper floors and creates a prestigious reception area. Its design and construction included the installation of the "Asian Story Wall", a multimedia installation consisting of twin banks of 30 seamless plasma screens (the largest installation of its kind in Hong Kong) displaying archived bank heritage and artworks.
The atrium of the HSBC building was the site of the Occupy Hong Kong protests which maintained a presence in the building from October 15, 2011 until their eviction in September 2012.
About KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ
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