In architecturally crowded Hong Kong, plazas are a rare breath of open air. The luxurious Causeway Bay district, whose retail rental rates surpassed New York City’s Fifth Avenue in 2012, is home to one of these sparse open spaces, Sunning Plaza. I.M. Pei’s 27-story edifice faces a large public courtyard, a hardscape relief within the densely built area devoted to commercial shops and restaurants.
But, such a luxury is always in threat of expansion. Artinfo reported that developer Hysan will soon be converting the space into additional commercial stores and offices. Pei’s 1982 building is to be demolished by the end of this year and the plaza is going with it.
31 years ago, Sunning Plaza was Pei’s first structure built in Hong Kong. The mirrored glass office tower is still only one of his two architectural projects in the city.
Although visitors often make use of the building’s public court, Causeway Bay is a high traffic shopping and business district. Hysan plans the new structure as a larger, mixed-use complex. Sunning Plaza will be demolished before the end of 2013. The entire redevelopment project is expected to be complete by 2018.