Union Square (Hong Kong)

Union Square is a commercial and residential real estate project in Hong Kong on the West Kowloon reclamation. Covering 13.54 hectares (33.5 acres), the site has a gross floor area of 1,090,026 square metres (11,732,940 sq ft), approximately the size of the Canary Wharf development in London. As of 2011, the site contained some of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong — including the tallest commercial building in Hong Kong, the 118-storey International Commerce Centre and the loftiest residential tower in Hong Kong, The Cullinan (270-metre (890 ft) high).

A simplified map of Union Square development
Union Square Logo

Location and accommodationEdit

Union Square is located at 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Kowloon, Hong Kong. It occupies part of the 340 hectares of land reclaimed from Victoria Harbour in the 1990s to construct a highway and rail link to the new Hong Kong International Airport, and it integrates the Kowloon station of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway.[1] The built area includes 5,866 residential units (totalling 608,026 m2 (6,544,740 sq ft)), 2,230 hotel rooms, and 2,490 serviced apartments with 167,472 m2 (1,802,650 sq ft) of combined hotel and serviced apartment space and 231,778 m2 (2,494,840 sq ft) of office space. This development has a 82,750 m2 (890,700 sq ft) shopping mall, Elements.

The name Union Square is not well known and is seldom used, and as such, people tend to refer to its constituent parts, such as the Elements mall, the ICC, the W Hotel and the various luxurious private apartment complexes.[1]

Planning and conceptEdit

The contract to build and operate the airport railway was awarded to MTR Corporation in 1992. The master plan for Union Square, comprising the massive air rights development surrounding Kowloon Station, was laid out by TFP Farrells. The architects envisioned a three-dimensional mixed-use urban quarter, with numerous towers sitting atop a massive podium.

According to Sir Terry Farrell, MTR Corporation initially wanted a dispersed train station with discreet entrances, but he argued for a grand station hall concept with layered space oriented around Kowloon station providing a central focal point. Transport infrastructure occupies the underground level and first floor – loading facilities and platforms for MTR trains on the Tung Chung and Airport Express lines occupying the sub-terranean level; while the ground level has bus stations, parking garage entrances and mechanical rooms. The Elements Mall on the upper decks takes up 146,000 square metres (1,570,000 sq ft), with retail space occupied by luxury brands, chain stores, a cinema, a supermarket, restaurants, and an ice rink.[1]

On the roof of the Union Square shopping mall, three storeys above the ground, is a pseudo ground level public place with walkways, gardens and a central plaza surrounded by outdoor cafés and bars. Entrances to the various building complexes of Union Square are located on this level.[1] Although Union Square was conceived as an interconnected space centred on transport infrastructure, it was criticised in a 2013 University of Hong Kong study as being cut off from its surroundings, especially for pedestrians. Paul Zimmerman said Union Square is "an island of the rich disconnected from its surroundings", and a lesson for future urban planners. This concern is shared by Farrell, who said there were pre-determined site constraints, and little could be done to mitigate them.[1]

Building complexesEdit

The WaterfrontEdit

The Waterfront

The Waterfront (Chinese: 漾日居; Cantonese Yale: Yeuhng yaht gēui), phase I of Union Square, was developed by the consortium led by Wing Tai Asia, including Temasek Holdings, Singapore Land, Keppel Land, Lai Sun Development, World-wide Investment and USI Holdings.[18] The residential complex consists of 1,288 apartments in 6 towers and was completed in 2000, together with Dickson Cyber Express, a 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2) cyber shopping mall of Dickson Concepts which was closed after the internet bubble burst.[19][20][21] There is a private clubhouse with various facilities, such as swimming pool, badminton court, tennis court, dance room, reading room, karaoke room and a party room for holding different kinds of activities. The residential complex has its own underground car park for residents. There are a lot of greenings within the estate, and the whole estate area is non-smoking. Residents need to show their resident cards before entering the estate. Visitors cannot enter without permission.

The Waterfront is in Primary One Admission (POA) School Net 31.[22] Within the school net are multiple aided schools (operated independently but funded with government money) and Jordan Road Government Primary School.[23]


Sorrento (擎天半島)
General information
Coordinates22°18′23.7″N 114°09′44.2″E / 22.306583°N 114.162278°E / 22.306583; 114.162278
Construction started2000; 23 years ago (2000)
Completed2003; 20 years ago (2003)
Opening2003; 20 years ago (2003)
Roof256 m (839.9 ft)
Technical details
Floor count75
Design and construction
Architect(s)Wong & Ouyang

Sorrento (Chinese: 擎天半島; Cantonese Yale: Kìhngtīn Bundóu) is a residential complex occupying the northern edge of Union Square.[24] The complex was built by The Wharf Estate Development Ltd. and MTR Corporation. It contains five residential towers completed in 2003 and was designed by Wong & Ouyang (HK) Ltd.

The towers are named Sorrento 1 through Sorrento 6. As in many buildings in Hong Kong, tower 4 is omitted because, in Cantonese, "4" is a homophone for "death". All five towers follow the same design but reducing in height consecutively with the tallest being Sorrento 1, and the shortest, Sorrento 6. Sorrento 1 is 256 metres (841 feet) tall with 75 floors. It is the 2nd tallest residential building in Hong Kong and the 5th in the world. There are a total of 2,126 units in Sorrento.[24] Between Sorrento 2 and Sorrento 3 is a gap, where a foot bridge connects the residential complex to Kowloon station and Elements.

Sorrento is in Primary One Admission (POA) School Net 31.[22] Within the school net are multiple aided schools (operated independently but funded with government money) and Jordan Road Government Primary School.[23]

The HarboursideEdit

The Harbourside (君臨天下)
General information
Coordinates22°18′11.0″N 114°9′42.0″E / 22.303056°N 114.161667°E / 22.303056; 114.161667
Construction started2001; 22 years ago (2001)
Completed2004; 19 years ago (2004)
Roof255 m (836.6 ft)
Technical details
Floor count74
Floor area128,845 m2 (1,386,876 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)P & T Architects & Engineers Ltd.
Structural engineerArup

The Harbourside (Chinese: 君臨天下; Cantonese Yale: Gwānlàhm Tīnhah) is a 255 m (836.6 ft) tall residential skyscraper in Union Square, phase 4 of the Kowloon station development. Construction of the 74-storey complex began in 2001 and was completed in 2004 under the design by P & T Architects & Engineers.

The Harbourside appears to be a one-wall building from a distance. However, there are actually three towers joined in the base, middle and top. The gaps between the towers help relieve the stress caused by wind since the complex has a large surface area, allowing it to act as a sail. All floors are used for residential purpose.

The Harbourside is the 91st tallest building in the world when measured up to the highest architectural point.[citation needed]

The Harbourside is in Primary One Admission (POA) School Net 31.[22] Within the school net are multiple aided schools (operated independently but funded with government money) and Jordan Road Government Primary School.[23]

The ArchEdit

The Arch (凱旋門)
General information
Coordinates22°18′13″N 114°9′47″E / 22.30361°N 114.16306°E / 22.30361; 114.16306
Construction started2002; 21 years ago (2002)
Completed2006; 17 years ago (2006)
Roof231 m (758 ft)
Technical details
Floor count65 Above ground
2 Basement floors
Floor area100,000 m2 (1,076,391 sq ft)
Design and construction
Structural engineerOve Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd.

The Arch (Chinese: 凱旋門; Cantonese Yale: Hóisyùhn mùhn) is an 81-floor 231-metre (758 feet) tall skyscraper completed in 2006 in Union Square. It is the third-tallest residential building in Hong Kong, consisting of four towers: Sun Tower, Star Tower, Moon Tower, and Sky Tower. The Star Tower is connected to the Moon Tower, while the Sky Tower is connected to the Sun Tower. The Sun and Moon Towers joined on the 69th floor and above to form an arch, hence the name "The Arch".

Sun Hung Kai Properties, the developer of the project, was criticised for its sales tactics of The Arch in 2005,[26] for the practice of "internal sales" in unfinished units, the absence of sale price-lists, and also for hyping sales for flats in The Arch by announcing inflated prices (per square metre) achieved. A buyer apparently paid HK$168 million (HK$31,300 per square foot) for a 5,360-square-foot (498 m2) penthouse. Sweeteners were allegedly given (discounts given to the same purchaser on other units bought), but were excluded from the calculation. This allowed the company to raise prices of the next batch of 500 units by 5–10 percent. However, Sun Hung Kai Properties denied the allegations.[27]

The Arch is in Primary One Admission (POA) School Net 31.[22] Within the school net are multiple aided schools (operated independently but funded with government money) and Jordan Road Government Primary School.[23]

The CullinanEdit

The Cullinan (天璽)
General information
LocationUnion Square, Hong Kong
Coordinates22°18′19.4″N 114°09′38.8″E / 22.305389°N 114.160778°E / 22.305389; 114.160778
Construction started2008; 15 years ago (2008)
Completed2009; 14 years ago (2009)
Antenna spire270 m (885.8 ft)
Technical details
Floor count68
Design and construction
DeveloperSun Hung Kai Properties
Structural engineerArup

The Cullinan (Chinese: 天璽; Cantonese Yale: Tīnsáai), phase 6 of Union Square, is a residential complex developed by Sun Hung Kai Properties. It is the tallest residential complex in Hong Kong, with 68 storeys and a height of 270 metres (886 feet). It consists of two towers, the North Tower and the South Tower, both of which were completed in 2008 and 2009 consecutively.

The residential complex was named after the 3,106-carat (621.2 g) Cullinan Diamond, the largest diamond in the world, found in 1905. The Cullinan complex was planned to be 45 storeys until the cancellation of Union Square phase 5. The number of floors was then increased to the current 68.

International Commerce CentreEdit

The International Commerce Centre (ICC), phase 7 of Union Square, is a 118-floor, 484-meter (1,588 ft) commercial skyscraper completed in 2010, owned and jointly developed by MTR Corporation and Sun Hung Kai Properties. It is currently the world's fourth tallest as well as the tallest building in Hong Kong. The five-star Ritz-Carlton Hotel currently occupies floors 102 to 118.

Shopping complexEdit

Elements, the shopping mall in Union Square, occupies 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2). As of 2008, it had a total of 123 shops, with an ice rink, and the 1600-seat multiplex Grand Cinema which is currently the largest cinema complex in Hong Kong.[28]


Union Square can be accessed easily by public transportation, including MTR, Kowloon Motor Bus and minibus. It approximates to the terminus of the High-speed rail.

Image galleryEdit

Public Open Spaces of Union Square
Southwesterly view of Union Square.
The Arch and The Harbourside viewed from inside the Union Square.
Civic Square inside the Union Square.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Dewolf, Christopher (19 January 2017). "The Vertical City, Part III: The West Kowloon Walled City".
  2. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 1. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  3. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 2. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  4. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 3. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  5. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 5. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  6. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 6. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  7. ^ The Waterfront, Tower 7. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  8. ^ Sorrento Tower 1. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  9. ^ Sorrento Tower 2. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  10. ^ Sorrento, Tower 3. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  11. ^ Sorrento, Tower 5. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  12. ^ Sorrento, Tower 6. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  13. ^ The Harbourside. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  14. ^ The Arch. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  15. ^ The Cullinan North Tower. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  16. ^ The Cullinan South Tower. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  17. ^ International Commerce Centre. Emporis. Retrieved 10 September 2011
  18. ^ "Homepage". Keppel Land. Archived from the original on 25 August 2008.
  19. ^ "The Waterfront".[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Dickson Cyber Express". Archived from the original on 27 May 2009.
  21. ^ Dickson set to spin off e-tailing operations[dead link]
  22. ^ a b c d "POA2023 Primary School Lists by School Net for Discretionary Places Admission Stage". Education Bureau. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  23. ^ a b c d "POA School Net 31" (PDF). Education Bureau. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  24. ^ a b Wong & Ouyang (HK) Ltd. "More than half-a-century of architectural design experience in Hong Kong", section "The Sorrento", p. 34, September 2009
  25. ^ "The Arch - SkyscraperPage.com". Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  26. ^ Lau, Eli (19 May 2005). "Flats frenzy puts system in spotlight". The Standard. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  27. ^ Wang, Raymond (20 May 2005). "Speculators may blow new bubble". The Standard. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  28. ^ MCL, Shaw ready Hong Kong's largest cinema complex Archived 6 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit

22°18′19″N 114°9′42″E / 22.30528°N 114.16167°E / 22.30528; 114.16167