Make sure you have a close-up look at the stunning headquarters of what is now HSBC (formerly the Hongkong & Shanghai Bank) headquarters, designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster in 1985. The building is a masterpiece of precision, sophistication and innovation. And so it should be. On completion in 1985 it was the world’s most expensive building (it cost upward of US$1 billion). The building reflects architect Sir Norman’s wish to create areas of public and private space and to break the mould of previous bank architecture. The ground floor is public space, which people can traverse without entering the building; from there, escalators rise to the main banking hall. The building is inviting to enter – it’s not guarded or off limits. Hong Kong Chinese, irreverent as always, call the 52-storey glass and aluminium structure the ‘Robot Building’.
It’s worth taking the escalator to the 3rd floor to gaze at the cathedral-like atrium and the natural light filtering through its windows.