2019 Hong Kong Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Tower Within a Tower

Image Credit : Kwong Von Glinow



Project Overview

In their winning entry for the Hong Kong Pixel Homes competition, American architecture practice Kwong Von Glinow brings Hong Kong’s urban verticality into the apartment units themselves with their Towers within a Tower concept.


Kwong Von Glinow


Lap Chi Kwong, Alison Von Glinow, Kevin Lamyuktseung

Project Brief

High-rise living, the twentieth century’s solution to urbanization on an unprecedented scale, has been a double-edged sword to cities: witness the wane of residential communities within the pancake stacks of apartments. Is the tower the antithesis of community? We think otherwise. Towers within a Tower is an alternate Tower typology that uses verticality to the benefit of community.

Project Innovation/Need

Apartment spaces - the bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, study - hitherto inhabited as cells in a horizontal field, are instead stacked one atop the other. Each apartment thus becomes its own Tower. Aggregated within a structural 5mx5m grid, these Towers curate a common space within their fold, a local neighborhood at every level. Each resident can rightfully lay the claim “That’s my tower” without sacrificing community.

While great variation can occur through these unit adjacencies, an economy of means maintains three basic unit types: Studios of 32 m2, Single Bedrooms of 37m2, and Family Units of 42m2. Each of these unit towers are unique in their proportions, organizations, and color, to serve the varying needs of different families and tenants.

Each tower unit is composed of prefabricated concrete elements, which once assembled into boxes, can be easily mounted onto each other with cast-in steel-plate embeds. The modularity of the system and minimal material weight allow for economic fabrication and flexible transport.

This system can be aggregated across many different scales, from a four story rural housing, to a development tower in the city – every time adapting to different ratios of studios: single bedrooms: family apartments. Overall – they produce a new typology of tower-living, where daily life is framed within pixels.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow. The project can be a concept, tender or personal project, i.e. proposed space.
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