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FIRST LOOK

Foster + Partners transforms office into hotel in Hong Kong

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The new Murray Hotel is housed in a 1970s office building. Photography by Nigel Young and Michael Weber

The 25-storey, listed Murray Building was originally designed by the city’s public works department, with deep recessed windows to avoid the harsh sunlight that have been retained, along with the facade. 

Surrounded by roads, the hotel stands on an island site, making it impermeable for pedestrians. One of the central aims of this regeneration project was to reconnect the building with the city at ground level by creating a new street frontage on Garden Road. The original car park deck has been ‘peeled’ back to create a private forecourt forming the hotel drop-off and entrance.

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2215 FP644353

From here visitors walk through the arches that now rise up three stories from the ground level into the lobby. Upper levels contain the guest rooms, and the top of the building houses a public restaurant and bar that open onto a roof terrace.

The architecture of the original building was a direct response to the climate of Hong Kong – the windows are carefully orientated to avoid the harsh tropical sunlight – gaining it an Energy Efficient Building Award in 1994. The design team consulted Ron Phillips, the original architect from the public works department, gaining valuable insights into the building’s history. The new design upgrades other aspects of the building and extends its life by introducing a new function appropriate for the changing demands of the city.

Architect’s view

Our design for The Murray creates a dialogue between the old and the new – giving the building a new lease of life and a renewed purpose, with a unique sense of character that is embedded within the fabric of the building. The Murray recalls the tradition of the grand hotels with its distinctive presence. It seeks to redefine the idea of luxury, which is about a generosity of space, a sense of calm, and an inherent understanding of how the hotel responds to the needs of the guest. The experience is seamless – from how the guests arrive at the destination, and then travel through the building to the interiors that showcase the inherent beauty of the materials, all coming together within a holistic vision for The Murray.

Luke Fox, head of studio, Foster + Partners

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2215 FP648596

Project data

Client The Murray Limited
Architect Foster + Partners 
Collaborating architect Wong and Ouyang Architects HK
Structural consultant Wong and Ouyang Civil Structural Engineering
Cost consultant Rider Levett Bucknall
Mechanical engineers Wong and Ouyang Building Services
Landscape consultant Urbis
Lighting engineer Tino Kwan Lighting
Main contractor Gammon
Façade contractor Entasis
Podium and presidential suites fitout contractor Pat-Davie
Ballroom fitout contractor Permasteelisa
Typical rooms + rooftop restaurant fitout contractor B.S.C.

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