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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities in Hong Kong, China by HMC Architects

May 25th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: HMC Architect

The idea to construct the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities as “a new Landmark to reflect Hong Kong as a vibrant global and metropolitan city” is an inspiring endeavor.  However some of the key elements in the design turn out to be a fixed precondition: the shape of the landmass and more importantly the infrastructure itself are not part of the design task… a missed opportunity!

Hong Kong Bridge

  • Architects: HMC Architects
  • Project: Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities
  • Location: Hong Kong, China

Traffic Fipper

Starting point
The proposed Master Layout Plan is a technocratic solution: ingenious but not yet sublime

Driving Right

Plastic Surgery
Beauty comes from within. So if we want to turn the project into a true success we cannot just focus on superficial improvements. We should concentrate on the intrinsic qualities: we should work with the organs and intestines too…

Driving Right

We realize that a lot of effort has already been invested in the current configuration, but there seem to be unexplored capacities… Pearl River Necklace took the liberty to propose some radical adjustments in the principles of the Boundary Crossing Facilities. Not out of arrogance -we understand that we lack the ability at this moment to fully comprehend all the complexities of the task at hand- but out of a profound love for the inspiring potential embedded in the assignment. Maybe it is not too late to loose the shackles?

Driving Right

Traffic Gem
Pearl River Necklace is an attempt to untying the knot. It is a breakdown of the complexities of the Border Crossing Facilities into a ‘Necklace of Shining Pearls’. The objective is to bring to the surface the intrinsic beauty of the HKBCF and at the same time to reinforce the attractiveness of the projected Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Hong Kong Bridge

Rope and Knot Magic
Bisecting the enormous complexity of the Boundary Crossing facility in its core elements -Bus/Couch Passenger Clearance and Private Car and Cargo Checkpoints- allows for a simpler and perhaps more ‘meaningful’ organization. By taking the facility apart and remixing it in a new way a remarkably beautiful organism comes into being. What we need is a Houdini to perform some sort of Rope and Knot Magic.

Hong Kong Bridge

Traffic Switch
Hong Kong has traffic on the left where China has traffic on the right. In principle this additional complexity has to be solved inside the Border Crossing Facilities. Within the proposed master layout plan this leads to fairly unarticulated intersections. It solves the switch, but does not ‘communicate’ it explicitly. In fact the proposed switches mimic a regular interchange; they do not stage a special event. Can we turn the moment of swapping into an unforgettable spectacle? Can we enhance awareness of motorists while at the same time creating an unprecedented driving experience?

Hong Kong Bridge

The Flipper is a device that is designed to ‘celebrate’ the traffic switch. The Flipper aspires to make tangible the change of the road system. It hopes to elegantly redirect vehicles in a smooth and safe way. The Flipper should be part of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. By introducing the Flipper close to the actual border the traffic system of the Border Crossing Facilities can become more simple…

Hong Kong Bridge

Archipelago Logo
It is surprising that while being located next to one of the busiest airports in the world the proposed manmade island lacks ‘communicative capacity’. The new landmass doesn’t appear emblematic. With the emergence of palm islands, a tulip shaped island and a recently discovered heart shaped island, only to name a few, this seems to be a missed opportunity.

Driving Left

Pearl River Necklace introduces an Archipelago of Artificial Islands on the border of Hong Kong and China; a string of specifically formed islands that derive their form and their beauty from their function. Lucky Charm Bracelet.

Hong Kong Bridge

Take me to the Bridge
In the proposed master layout plan the Border Crossing Facilities, paradoxically, are not located on the border… Wouldn’t it be more accurate to position the border on the border?

Flipper Street 01

It is surprising that in the proposed Master Layout Plan the crucial moment of crossing the border is NOT perpendicular to the road you travel on. Through a mysterious detour the ‘border’ is aligned parallel with the main artery. This arrangement is blurring the clear schematic of the event. As a consequence the proposed plan does not perform as a true Logo. If the Border Crossing Facilities will be part of the ‘Bracelet’ the system can easily be rotated 90 degrees and as such rediscover its ‘natural’ position. And in the process shorten the road…


Crossing a border can be an exciting event. The efficient compression of the Private Car Kiosks as suggested by the Proposed Master Layout Plan however obscures the visual clarity that lies at the heart of the assignment. The current layout does not do justice to the dramatic potential of crossing a border. The sheer mass of unprecedented mobility could be articulated more theatrically. By aligning the booths in one long line a striking effect can be created. The visual simplicity of aligning the kiosks will establish a blissful entry: abstract, pure, logical

Necklace 01

Border Atoll
Unfolding the Private Car Kiosks into a monumental linear structure automatically transforms the shape of the island. It shifts to a smooth organic form. A by-pass for the bus and coach access is created through the middle.

Necklace 02

The Passenger Clearance Building and its arteries in principle have a beautiful organization. But even here logistics could be made more user-friendly. By arranging the drop-off bays on the first level passengers have to descend only. The walking distances are reduced and made more comfortable. And a symmetrical typology comes into being, hierarchy is taken out off the system and a spectacular interlocking of flows emerges, together but separate.

Necklace 03

The Elevated Elevated Road
Pearl River Necklace proposes to elevate the section of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge right in front of the entrance of the Tunnel. The additionally heightened position of the road will give the opportunity to overlook your trajectory; it allows you to get a glimpse of your destination. And driving towards Hong Kong, the Elevated Elevated Road will grand a view onto the sensational traffic Flipper and the Border Crossing Facilities

Necklace 04

Starting point

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Category: Bridge

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