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TALKING POINTS

Two Taikoo Place: Designing for Connectivity with NBBJ

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• Two Taikoo Place will be the newest addition to Taikoo Place in 2022.
• Ahead of its opening, we catch up with the project’s lead designer, Jonathan Ward, to talk about how the new tower will facilitate connectivity in our community.

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In today’s new world of working, office buildings are not just where we go daily to get things done, but places for interaction and connection ¬– and Two Taikoo Place, a triple Grade A-rated office tower set to complete in 2022, will be the latest addition to Taikoo Place to do just that. Let’s hear from Jonathan Ward, design partner at architectural firm NBBJ and lead designer of Two Taikoo Place, on how the newest member of the Taikoo Place family will connect people, nature, and places.

Connecting People

“A great office building is a social fabric,” says Ward. “Instead of being driven by machine thinking, we have to look at the person first.”

But to create a social fabric within a space, there needs to first be an understanding of the culture that operates there. “It begins with knowing what that culture is, and then tailoring the space to drive interaction and innovation,” says Ward. For Two Taikoo Place, this translates to the creation of what Ward calls the “great room ”, or what is essentially the building lobby, but in the form of a multi-level, town centre-like space that encompasses a range of amenities, such as a pastry shop, a bar, an executive suite, and the building reception.

“We look at Taikoo Place as a series of places along this connective necklace, with each knuckle purposely created to offer a unique experience”
“It’s like a living room, a semi-public space that connects people both vertically and horizontally,” he explains. “By adding more layers and amenities into this lower part of the tower, we erode the traditional podium and blend the office tower with it, which effectively attracts users of the building to come down and interact in this space.”

Another unconventional feature that facilitates social connection at Two Taikoo Place is that the building’s core – which houses staircases, elevators and canopy shaft – is placed, atypically, on the south side. “The core, usually located at the centre of a building, is a big limiting factor when it comes to bringing people together,” he says. “Now that it’s out of the way, we open up the entire north side for easy connectivity and a flexible workspace.”

Connecting with Nature

Moving the core southwards also has a benefit for sustainability, according to Ward, as it shields the most intense heat gain throughout the day, thereby lowering the building’s energy consumption. Such orientation has also made it possible to construct an impressive north-facing glass façade, which looks out toward the harbour and Taikoo Square, a 70,000sqft park that’s being built simultaneously.

“It takes bold vision from Swire Properties’ perspective to create a park, instead of another high-rise building, that serves as a heart to the whole complex. It’s a long-term sustainable strategy to plan green,” says Ward. “Two Taikoo Place sits at the back of the Taikoo Square, and we wanted to make the barrier between the ‘great room’ and the park and the city invisible – like a big light cloud above the park.”

This is accomplished by adding a 20m high by 3m wide glass façade to the “great room”, with no mullion, or bars across windowpanes, to disrupt the view. “We try to make it as transparent as possible to create a visual connection with the environment,” adds Ward. “You’re in the leaves. You’re in the tress. You’re in the city.”


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Connecting Places

Like most other Taikoo Place buildings, the new tower will be linked to the elevated walkways that bring you to different parts of the complex. “We look at Taikoo Place as a series of places along this connective necklace, with each knuckle purposely created to offer a unique experience,” says Ward. And with the new tower, it’s all about enabling connectivity throughout the office hub. “That’s why we’ve moved the lobby up to the bridge level and designed the ‘great room’ to be something that’s warmer, with a little bit more hospitality, more vibrancy, more layers.”

“It demonstrates Swire Properties’ thinking about placemaking,” he continues. “From day one, we were discussing the entire architectural experience from the big concept and the city vision down to the detail. They’re interested in new thinking within the framework of refined elegance, while thinking about the user experience. This ensures a high-quality outcome, one that isn’t meant to be loud, but if you look more carefully, you’ll discover the unique, elegant details.”

How does the development of Taikoo Place continue to transform the area’s landscape? Find out how Swire Properties builds the future, here.

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