Architect Frank Gehry's first Hong Kong tower is generating international buzz in both the architecture and property communities.
Apartments in Opus Hong Kong, Mr Gehry's first residential project in Asia, are likely to set a record for rents on the island. Prices have not been set, but the developer Swire Properties has "every expectation it will break records", Martin Cubbon, the chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal.
The 12-storey tower on the Peak, an exclusive tree-covered hill overlooking downtown Hong Kong, will feature 12 apartments averaging about 6,000 square feet.
Hong Kong is already considered one of the most expensive rental markets in the world. To set a record, apartments would have to rent for more than US$50,000 (Dh183,650) a month, according to media reports.
The design is unusually sedate for Mr Gehry, whose best-known works include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Mr Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim museum planned for Saddiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, has designed residential properties in the past, but they are relatively rare. He is best known for his distinctive post-modern public buildings, which use undulating shapes and metal forms.
The design for Opus features a fairly traditional looking rectangular tower, wrapped by glass spires. "Finely tuned glass-enclosed columns form the structure, twisting up around the building like reeds swaying in the breeze," according to the developer.
The glass balconies were designed to resemble "boat decks".
Mr Gehry has his own take on the design. The glass columns will create "intimate" indoor spaces for the apartments, he told CNN. Each apartment will have a unique layout and perspective.
"Instead of just having one window in front of you, the windows are like a surround that open the vista even greater, and yet in doing that, we make separation of various parts of the dwelling, and create more intimate spaces," Mr Gehry said.
Opus Hong Kong is expected to be completed in the first half of next rear.
The Quote: Itís about creating emotion with inert material, which ancient Greeks and ancient Indians were able to achieve with stone and metal centuries ago. -†Frank Gehry, describing his style