Dutch firm MVRDV stripped an old factory down to its bare bones and transformed it into an entirely see-through office. Located on Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong waterfront, the Glass Office at 133 Wai Yip Street is boldly clad in glass and stainless steel to promote and symbolize transparency in the workplace. MVRDV recycled the existing framework with modern infill, and the 18,000-square-meter building now serves as a visual symbol and flagship project for a new business development that will bridge the neighborhood’s industrial roots with a metropolitan future.
Commissioned by project developer GAW Capital, the office transformation also includes retail and restaurants on the lower levels. The original factory was enclosed in concrete and comprised dark and labyrinth-like passageways. The architects gutted the structure to remove all unnecessary trimmings until only the building skeleton was left. They preserved the “purity” of the stripped-down building by adding only white paint, glass, and stainless steel infill. The dedication to transparency was extended to the furnishings, which are also all made from glass to create an entirely glass office. Even the elevators are made of glass sheathed in glass shafts.
“We are moving into a transparent society, businesses are becoming more open with the public, and people care more about what goes on behind closed doors. In that way, a clear workspace leaves nothing questionable, nothing hidden; it generates trust,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “But also it is an opportunity for the building to become a reminder of the industrial history of the neighbourhood, monumentalised in a casing of glass.” Despite the generous amounts of glazing, the building has a 17% lower annual energy consumption rate and a 15% lower peak electricity demand as compared to the average Hong Kong office.
Images via MVRDV, © Ossip van Duivenbode