A key characteristic of the Star Street neighbourhood in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, is its human scale, with low building heights and small footprints.

HONG KONGThe Star Street neighbourhood in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, is an area full of heritage and historic buildings. It offers a fusion environment where cuisines from America, Vietnam, Italy, and Japan can be found mixed among shops selling everything from Hong Kong housewares to French fashions. However, the charming blocks sit apart from Hong Kong’s busy streets and the offices of Pacific Place, and can seem inaccessible and confusing to visitors due to dead-end streets.

Developer Swire Properties is considering how to improve accessibility and pedestrian flows to the area. That opportunity gave rise to a new real estate development case competition for young professionals. Last September, the ULI Hong Kong Young Leaders Group (YLG) launched the competition with a set task of coming up with ways to redevelop and rejuvenate the Star Street precinct. Participants were challenged to create designs that address issues of accessibility and cultural preservation while maintaining financial viability.

Eighteen teams submitted entries. After an initial selection round, six teams advanced to the second stage, and winning entries were announced in January.

Winner: “A Slice of Hong Kong”
A multidisciplinary team composed of Dion Huey from Plateau Asset Management, Geraldine Li of P&T Architects and Engineers, and Jasper Hilkhuijsen and Wing Ki Lee from Arup took first place. Their proposal features a detailed design that retains the site’s historic buildings while incorporating design elements featuring new structures that would create a fluid dynamic between old and new. To increase pedestrian flow, a walkable passage is introduced to connect Moon Street to Star Street, and the plan includes shared spaces and recreational areas for the community.

Second Place: “Constellation”
Runners-up were Fay Fang, Jimmy Chan, Lily French, and Rozana Lee, all from Swire Properties, whose submission includes an ambitious plan to achieve a quadruple-­bottom-line result, transforming the Sun Street and Moon Street areas into outdoor pedestrianised zones and open public spaces. Their plan features three key elements:

  • The Astra, which would be a mix of residential flats and a boutique hotel;
  • The Helios, which is a residential-only spiralling tower with a one-unit-per-floor design; and
  • A sky bridge connecting Wing Fung Street, Sun Street, and Three Pacific Place.

Honourable Mention: “Livall Glowork”
Honourable mention went to Ng Si Ieong, Yang Yuling, and Zhang Xiangyu, students at the University of Hong Kong. Their inspiration was a focus on creating public value rather than adopting the traditional model of maximising development space. The proposal features an enhanced Star Street neighbourhood based on Swire’s sustainability ambition of people, place, environment, economy, and partnership.

The winning team received a cash prize of HK$30,000 (US$3,800), and both the winning and second-place teams have an opportunity to present their designs to senior industry leaders at the 2018 ULI Asia Pacific Summit in June. The judging panel included Nicholas Brooke, chairman, Professional Property Services Limited; Tim Blackburn, chief executive officer, Mainland China, Swire Properties Limited; Mabelle Ma, director, development and valuations, Swire Properties Limited; Sujata Govada, founder and managing director, UDP International; Phil Kim, managing director, Asia Pacific, Jerde Partnership; and Will Myles, regional managing director, Asia Pacific, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

ULI Hong Kong YLG committee volunteers included Douglas Wu, executive director, Fairland Holdings; Karie Kwan, head of research operations, CBRE Asia Pacific; Dennis Ly, deputy managing director, Chiaphua Limited; and Kelly Mai, marketing manager, HEAD Architecture and Design Limited.

The committee welcomes suggestions for development sites for this year’s competition. Contact uli_HongKong@uli.org.

This article appeared on page 48 of the Asia Pacific Issue of Urban Land, Spring 2018.