Boosted Hong Kong’s business district, enabled local businesses to expand. and created construction jobs
Solved the problem
Build a new office skyscraper for growing businesses in Hong Kong
Used engineering skill
Design a concrete structure that has good views of the harbour
Build the tallest skyscraper in Asia
Central Plaza is a 374m-high office building in the Hong Kong business district. When it was completed in 1992, it was the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world.
The structure was also the tallest skyscraper in Asia until the Shun Hing Square in Shenzhen, China was built.
Central Plaza was built on land reclaimed from Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour during the 1970s. It was designed to be triangular as this allowed more of the structure to get a view of Victoria Harbour than a square or rectangular shape.
The building has an unusual clock at the top of the tower. The clock has four different-coloured neon bars - it indicates the time by one of the bars illuminating on each quarter hour.
The structure houses Sky City Church - the world's highest church inside a skyscraper. The church has two meetings on a Sunday. The 11am service is conducted in English, with a bilingual evening service at 6pm in English and Cantonese.
The tower has a 102m mast on top with an anemometer – a device to measure windspeed - at its tip.
Central Plaza took just 44 months to complete – from buying the land at auction, to the end of construction. It took an average of four days to build each floor.
Engineer Nushma Juwaheer talks to us about Central Plaza in Asia which was completed in 1992. Central Plaza has 78 storeys and is 374 metres tall, making it currently the 44th tallest building in the world.
Did you know …
Around 6,000 people work in Central Plaza. There are 39 computerised lifts to get them up and down the building.
The structure uses 720 tonnes of granite, covering an area of 40,060m² - equivalent to nine football pitches.
The skyscraper has an observation deck on the 46th floor. The free-to-visit Central Plaza Sky Lobby gives a 360° view of the city.
Difference the project has made
The skyscraper was a major addition to Hong Kong’s business district – helping to boost Hong Kong’s position as a key centre for commerce in Asia.
The structure provided urgently-needed space for local businesses – allowing them to expand and create more jobs.
The scheme also created jobs in the Hong Kong construction industry – bringing income to the local economy.
How the work was done
Construction of Central Plaza was unusual as there was only a general plan available when work began. Engineers working on the project made substantial changes to the original design to speed up progress on the scheme.
Early plans were for a steel building. The project team changed this to reinforced concrete so the lower floors could be completed – and available for rent – while upper floors were still under construction.
Other changes included making the structure triangular rather than square. In fact, the tower is not truly triangular - its three corners were cut off to provide better internal office spaces.
As Hong Kong is in an area affected by typhoons, the building’s performance in strong winds was a key challenge for engineers.
The scheme’s developers commissioned a detailed study from experts at the University of Ontario’s wind tunnel laboratory to make sure the structure would withstand predicted wind speeds.
The tower’s first tenants moved in while concrete was still being poured for the upper floors.