The Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront of Hong Kong just got a unique new addition – the city’s very first kinetic building.

An overview on the Harbour Kiosk with the water beyond
Hong Kong is now housing its very first kinetic building right on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront © LAAB Architects

The Harbour Kiosk was designed and realised by the local firm LAAB Architects and it’s the first building of its kind to appear in the city, right on the Avenue of Stars, the promenade that celebrates the Hong Kong movie industry and celebrities.

A detail of the Kiosk's timber slats
The Harbour Kiosk's design has won several architecture awards and has also been shortlisted at the World Architecture Festival © LAAB Architects

The kiosk was inspired by the local market stalls, which close up during the night and expand again during the day. Just like them, the kiosk opens and closes with the daylight, unfolding into an awning during the day and then returning to a compact shape once the sun has set.

A rendering of the Kiosk's movements
The Kiosk is able to open and close with the change of daylight thanks to robotic arms hidden in its timber slats © LAAB Architects

This is possible thanks to 49 robotic arms located in the timber fins which make up the kiosk’s façade. There are three strata of them and they can all move independently from one another and so they shift and change ever-so-slightly during the day to echo the movement of the waves in the Harbour and “establish an emotional connection between the people, the architecture, and the surrounding nature,” as LAAB Architects put it.

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The Harbour Kiosk was a work in progress for more than two years, during which the team at LAAB Architects made sure the prototype could withstand the force of Hong Kong’s typhoon season and choose which material to use for the construction – the final choice was the red balau wood that makes up the kiosk, a strong yet light material which was finished and curated by local craftsmen.

A shot of the Kiosk at night with the skyline in the background
The Kiosk houses both the programming and sound systems for the Avenue of Starts' nightly light show © LAAB Architects

The Harbour Kiosk offers vending machines, drinking fountains and info panels to all visitors of the waterfront, as well as hosting the electricity generators for the entire Avenue of Stars and providing music for the Avenue’s nightly light show. If you’d like to know more about the kiosk and its realisation, you can visit LAAB Architects’ official website here.

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