The International Commerce Center (ICC) Tower, tallest building in Hong Kong and fourth tallest building in the world, opened in 2011. It is part of a planned second financial district in the city. It's an attraction for both tourists and business people.
There are interesting facts about this notable record-breaking building. Its innovative in that it contains residential, commercial and business facilities, and a world-class transportation system. It is part of an efficient self-contained community called Union Square.
The ICC Tower is a new tourist attraction. The building and the adjacent mall under it are designed for visitors and tourists. Tourists will be interested in seeing the view from the top, the 4- and 5-star restaurants, Elements Mall, and the light display, and in staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
Sky 100 is an observation floor with a 360 degree view. You can see the city from the highest observation deck in Hong Kong. It is on the 100th floor of the building. You can watch an interactive media presentation about the ICC Tower, Hong Kong, and Hong Kong's history.
There are telescopes and a photography booth for use. You can sit on sofas and relax for a while. Watch the city and the harbor below. There are beverage machines. The ticket price is about 150 HKD (19.50 USD). People can stay there until 10pm when it closes.
There are a number of 5-star restaurants in the tower. The 101st floor is a floor for 5-star restaurants. They serve mainly visitors, business people, and people staying at the Ritz Carlton above. Dragon Seal for Chinese food and Inayaka for Japanese food are there. There are other luxurious restaurants in Elements Mall and the Ritz Carlton at the top of the tower.
It isn't a mall meant for large crowds of people like the IFC Mall or the Landmark. Presently, it seems mainly meant for the wealthy people who work and live at the Union Square complex and wealthy shoppers.
So you won't see crowds of people, but you'll see high-priced jewelry showcased in the shop windows and other things beyond the budget of most people. The mall measures about a million square feet. It is quite big and luxurious.
Unlike the IFC Mall across the bay that has the reputation for being Hong Kong's "ritziest mall", you'll see no fast-food chain restaurants. The international restaurants in the mall are all quality restaurants that are probably meant to attract the people staying at the real Ritz Carlton at the top of the tower.
The Elements Mall gets its name from the 5 elements of Chinese Daoist philosophy: wood, water, metal, fire, earth. There are five sections with these names in the mall that each sell different kinds of goods or services that somehow match these ideas.
The Fire section has Hong Kong's biggest movie theater or the second biggest. There are 12 screens, and the theater seats 1,600 people. It is equipped with excellent audio equipment. Perhaps it was put in the Fire section because people get excited in there.
To show how upper-class the Elements Mall is, the Three Sixty supermarket is an organic and natural food supermarket. It is unusual in Asia. There is even organic milk, organic coffee, and organic hamburgers. The supermarket is in the Wood section.
The new Ritz Carlton opened in 2011. It is definitely meant for wealthy people. It is the highest hotel in the world. The Ritz Carlton Hotel takes up the top 16 floors.
The top floor has a lounge and swimming pool called Ozone that is the highest such hotel facility in the world. The cheapest rooms are deluxe rooms with prices that start at least 4,000 HKD (500 USD) per night.
The building now has the best light display in the city. The light display is an achievement. Hong Kong is known for interesting light displays that tourists can watch most evenings from the Avenue of Stars.
The light display is called the Symphony of Lights, and the light shows includes mainly the buildings on the Hong Kong Island side of Victoria Harbor. The ICC Tower joined the Symphony of Lights in May of 2012. Its scintillating light display across the whole building is the most interesting.
The building is primarily a business and residential complex for the new financial district in Hong Kong. The ICC Tower is a part of Union Square that attracts wealthy people and business people because they can work, live and shop in the same complex, and its transportation system is becoming the best in Hong Kong.
The West Kowloon financial district is important for international business because Hong Kong became the leading financial center in the world in 2011. HK now ranks ahead of New York City. So the new financial district may play an important part in international finance and business.
The ICC Tower is in a strategic location. It is over the new interchange point for major rapid transit systems and is close to the airport. Hong Kong needed a new business district because Central District doesn't have room for expansion, and services need to be consolidated in innovative ways.
The West Kowloon area allows for development for time and money-saving efficiency. For wealthy financiers and businessmen, saving time, convenience, and quick travel to meetings is very important. It is important to be able to travel quickly and to stay at a place where a lot of colleagues and customers live.
The ICC Tower and the Union Square complex has an advantage because the residential buildings in Union Square and the new Ritz Carlton are right next to the business offices of major international corporations.
Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and other major corporations have offices in the tower. The restaurants and the luxury mall areas are convenient places to meet people and have a meal.
The ICC Tower may have the best regional and international travel system in the world once the Mainland XRL project is finished, perhaps by 2016, and other planned mass transit projects are completed. People in the complex will be able to travel quickly in the city, in the region, and internationally.
The Kowloon Station underneath allows access to one of the world's best mass transit systems. The airport is generally considered to be among the best in the world, and a regional bullet train system is being built for the area.
The tower's regional transportation system is also an advantage compared to Central District's. The Mainland XRL project is being built to link Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong by bullet trains. People may be able to travel to the Guangzhou South Station in less than an hour.
It currently takes at least about two hours via the existing route from the Hong Hom station. But adding to this travel time is the commute to the Hong Hom Station. The station is in an out of the way place. The customs procedures for the regular train take longer too.
From the Guangzhou South Station, train travel to Wuhan and many other cities further inland takes only a few hours. These areas in southeastern and central China are one of the world's biggest industrial regions and population centers. So the rail line links together international business people and the industries.
New tunnels are being built through the mountains to Shenzhen for the Mainland XRL project. The only Hong Kong station for the XRL rail line will be right next to the tower.
Once the project is finished, travel to Shenzhen and the rest of China will be much easier and quicker for those staying at the tower than from anywhere else in Hong Kong. The trains along the Hong Kong section of this rail line are expected to travel 200 km/hour.
Travel to the Hong Kong International Airport is convenient because the special Airport Express MTR station is basically "in house" under the ICC Tower. It leaves frequently and whisks people to the airport in about twenty minutes.
The ICC Tower 環球貿易廣場 builders are Sun Hong Kai and the MTR Corporation. They are continuing Hong Kong's tradition of being innovators in skyscraper construction. The ICC Tower was built using innovative construction techniques, and its function as a part of a planned residential, commercial, and business complex with its own regional and HK train stations is innovative as well.
The building was built between 2007 and 2010. Its world-class transportation system and building a joint residential and business complex were major design goals.
They wanted the building's shape to match well with the IFC Tower and to enhance the overall beauty of Victoria Harbor. The stylistic effect of their twin towers is that of twin light towers standing at the entrance of Victoria Harbor.
Hong Kong has a legacy of innovating construction techniques and record-breaking construction projects. For example, in 1989, Hong Kong became the first city outside of the US to have a skyscraper. It is called the Bank of China Tower. It had innovative design features.
Modern times demand innovative construction. In the past, business people and financiers around the world preferred to work downtown and live in the suburbs.
In Hong Kong's case, that meant they worked in Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai and lived on Victoria Peak, the Midlevels area or on one of the islands. That was when when regional and international travel required relatively a lot of time.
Now, faster air travel, faster regional travel and the quicker pace of financial markets is making being able to work and live at the same place very important. The ICC Tower is innovative in fitting together fast transportation systems, residences, the hotel, and businesses in a planned community.
Sun Hung Kai has a history of being engineering innovators. They built the IFC Tower that is the second tallest building in the city, Park Island Apartments, Noah's Ark Theme Park, and numerous other projects. They innovated skyscraper construction techniques for this building.
They installed double-deck elevators to save space and make elevator travel quicker. These are the first such elevators in Hong Kong.
They also utilized new high-strength concrete that was pumped up to the top of the building using a new kind of pump. This new kind of pump conveys concrete 1,000 feet higher than pumps could previously. This saved money.