Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII), a high-profile project on the North Shore of Hong Kong Island in Victoria Harbour is a newly created world class waterfront development aimed to provide much needed relief for traffic congestion in the busy Central and Wan Chai districts. The complexity of the planning and development process enabled the landscape design to be pushing new boundaries to provide a new public space that will become a popular destination for joggers, families and office workers to enjoy the magnificent harbour views. The project is an excellent example of how engineering innovation and landscape design can come together to create a successful public realm, thereby extending new avenues for landscape design thinking.
CRIII project is located between the Central Reclamation Phase I and the Wan Chai Development Phase II. Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) is a high-profile project on the Northshore of Hong Kong Island in Victoria Harbour. The newly created area of land is required for essential transport infrastructure that will provide much needed relief for traffic congestion in the busy Central and Wan Chai districts and the new area will be developed into a world class waterfront. The ultimate design provided an unprecedented opportunity to create a waterfront that complements Hong Kong’s famous skyline whilst making the best use of the reclaimed land, for both strategic infrastructure and recreational open spaces, serving the community and tourists alike. The proposed 18 hectares of reclamation land is planned to be built as a new recreation area along the waterfront. The project aims to create new attractive promenade that can be used as a dynamic event space along the waterfront or as an extension space for outdoor exhibitions and activities. In addition to the public spaces, the new feature area will also facilitate addressing the prime concerns over the deterioration in wave conditions within Victoria Harbour.
The project planning and development process was complex and there were a wide variety of challenges in its design. The landscape design has played a significant role in stitching these complex spatial typologies together and creating an interesting canvas of public spaces that engage with the everyday life of people. It seamlessly blends into the daily routines of exercise, work commute or family walks and transforms into an exciting myriad of activities during carnivals and exhibition events. The promenade landscape brings the social energy of the city closer to the harbour edge and becomes an important transition space between the land and water.
Adopting a practical and sustainable planting strategy for the site and the streetscape to ensure the visual connectivity of the linear stretch and the access routes is impactful. Maximising the views to the harbour, all public spaces were planned to look towards the water edge. Multi-level viewing decks were introduced in spaces where service structures could be camouflaged to reduce visual clutter along the promenade. Maximising landscape opportunities through introduction of vertical greening and roof top greening to soften the engineering elements along harbour edge. Exploring the options of flexible spaces that can transform for various events during the year.
New Piers & Waterfront Promenade
The introduction of interesting elements such as the new piers and waterfront promenade enables interaction and celebration of the harbour. A series of changing landscape spaces at different levels provide variety of places for multi-purpose use along the new waterfront. These lifting platforms also help users to separate themselves or their own group from other people in public while they are all still able to enjoy the same famous exquisite waterfront scenery. There are plenty of seating options and viewpoints provided for all types of users. The promenade is surrounded with large scale tree plantations provided along the waterfront and extended into the heart of the city to optimise the comfort and freedom of movement for walkers and joggers. The promenade extends from the central ferry pier through Tamar Park expected to finish in 2018. This long breezy promenade will become an important linkage for pedestrian users to other locations from Central and Wan Chai areas along the line, such as Hong Kong Observatory Wheel, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre a famous restaurants and hotels located around the area. The promenade is expected to become a new destination for visitors to enjoy the dramatic Hong Kong skyline from another perspective and a new vantage point to enjoy the nightly Symphony of Lights or the firework displays that light up the entire Harbour-front during special events throughout the year.
Temporary Landscape Area along the Waterfront Promenade
The large spaces between the existing buildings and the new waterfront were designed as temporary landscape spaces to facilitate numerous cultural events, carnivals, outdoor exhibitions and other temporary activities. Considering the lack of such spaces within the central area of Hong Kong, these temporary landscape areas have become an extremely sought after destination by various event organizers and is very well utilized throughout the year. These have also become a significant source of additional income that compensates the cost of maintenance and management of the new public spaces.
Sustainable Planting Strategy
One of the challenges was to select a successful tree species for this project. The proposed trees had to not only be resistant to the sea breezes from the marine environment, but also be available in large numbers within a short timeframe. After a series of planting trials, Koelreuteria paniculata (Chinese Varnish Tree) and Peltophorum pterocarpum species were selected, which were planted in large numbers along the waterfront and avenues. This created a strong green structure and uniformity for the project. In addition, a wide arrangement of colourful shrubs and seasonal trees were provided to create a diverse and interesting planting design.
After the opening in 2014 to public, the new Central Harbour front is now taking shape and becoming a popular destination for families, joggers or office workers as well as tourists who can enjoy the magnificent harbour views along the lushly planted promenade. Pumping stations and air vents have been carefully integrated in the public spaces through green roof or vertical greening. The landscape design has successfully achieved the set objectives of creating a harbour front for the people and a harbour front of life, easily accessible for the enjoyment of all. Expected in nearly future, after more cafes and restaurants open, sculpture theme parks and other new plazas are completely built and with a perfect location among plenty of existing and potential points of interest, the space will draw various public enjoyment events and diverse activities in by itself. It will all enhance this new waterfront to be one of the most remarkable, active and lively promenade in Hong Kong.
Project name: Central Reclamation Phase III
Entrant office name: Atkins, member of SNC-Lavalin Group
Role of the entrant in the project: Architectural services, Landscape architectural services and engineering services
Project location: Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong
Client: Civil Engineering and Development Department
Scale: 18 ha
Design year: 2010
Year Built: 2014