This stunning building, designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster in 1985, is a masterpiece of precision and innovation. And so it should be; on completion it was the world’s most expensive building. Don't miss the pair of bronze lions guarding the harbour-side entrance of the building. Called Stephen (left) and Stitt (right), they're named after HSBC managers from the 1920s. Both bear shrapnel scars from the Battle of Hong Kong. Rub their paws for luck.
The building reflects Foster'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.