HSBC Building

Top choice in Hong Kong

Skyline in Central Hong Kong Left to right: Bank of China Tower, Cheung Kong Centre, Bank of China building, HSBC headqurters, Standard Chartered Bank.

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This remarkable building, designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster in 1985, has stood the test of time – more than 30 years on, its magnetism can still be felt in Central. On completion it was the world’s most expensive building and considered an engineering marvel, reflecting Foster's wish to break the mould of previous bank architecture. The ground floor is an inviting two-storey walk-through public space, housing an exhibition of HSBC's Hong Kong history and architecture.

Underfoot, look out for the illuminated street map of Central Hong Kong, which shows how land reclamation has changed the blueprint of this area; when HSBC's new headquarters opened in 1986 it stood on the waterfront.

Don't miss the pair of bronze lions guarding the harbourside 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.

Hong Kong Chinese, irreverent as always, call the 52-storey glass and aluminium structure the ‘Robot Building’. From the ground floor, escalators rise to the main banking hall. This level is more ordinary than you might expect, but it's worth ascending to gaze at the cathedral-like atrium and the natural light filtering through its windows.