While not necessarily a difficult formal exercise, the creation of a building to serve as an architectural landmark in a major city such as Hong Kong presented a number of significant challenges. Programmatic inventiveness was required to imagine a building which reflected, but also provided relief from the city itself – a structure set above and apart, but at the same time integrated with the land and water below.
In response, designs for the The Peak proposed what is almost a ‘Suprematist geology’, using a range of materials to realize a design that cut through the landscape like a knife and rejected traditional principles of organization.
Integral to the concept was the proposed excavation of rock at the site’s lowest point – to be polished and used to create a ‘man made polished granite mountain’, exploiting excavated areas within the natural topography to house a range of ‘hedonistic’ activities. Above these subterranean spaces, the building itself was to be layered horizontally and feature horizontal beams, balconies and interconnecting corridors.
The club itself constituted a 13 metre void – suspended between the building’s second and penthouse layers, within which various elements – exercise platforms, entrance decks, circulation areas, snack bar and library were to ‘hover’. A number of these – including the swimming pool, which featured a number of floating platforms and ramps – were to be set in the open air. The building also featured four separate penthouse apartments above the club void.
Viewed from Hong Kong, the mountain cliff provided a backdrop to the club’s suspended leisure and intellectual resources. In its entirety, the building itself constitutes a unique, modern geology, symbolizing in many respects the ‘high life’ inherent in both club and city.