The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (18 March) celebrated the grand opening of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower (JCIT) – home to the University's School of Design (SD) and the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation (JCDISI) as well as the first permanent Hong Kong architectural project by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid. In contributing HK$249 million towards the construction and fitting-out of JCIT, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust also covers the three-year operating costs of JCDISI. The grand opening ceremony was well attended by guests from all over the world, including government officials and professionals from different fields, spanning from design, architecture, engineering, business, arts and cultures to education etc.
Officiating at the plaque unveiling ceremony were Ms Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, PolyU Council Chairman; Mr T. Brian Stevenson, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Prof. Timothy W. Tong, PolyU President. Together, other officiating guests including Dame Zaha Hadid, Founder of Zaha Hadid Architects; the Hon. Eddie Ng Hak-kim, Secretary for Education of the HKSAR Government; Prof. Roy Chung Chi-ping, PolyU Court Chairman; Dr Victor Lo Chung-wing, Immediate Past Chairman of PolyU Council; Ms Eva Yam, Deputy Secretary-General of University Grants Committee; Prof. Cees de Bont, Dean and Chair Professor of SD; Mr Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid Architects; and Mr Lai Wai-kin, President of PolyU Students’ Union, kicked off the opening of this unique architectural structure on PolyU campus.
Addressing the ceremony, Ms Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, PolyU Council Chairman said, "Innovation is about making creative use of knowledge for the betterment of society. As our School of Design moves into this iconic Innovation Tower, and with the establishment of the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation, I am sure they will have even more ammunition to play their role as the focal point where different disciplines work together for the good of society."
Mr T Brian Stevenson, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) said the Club was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this project and collaborate with PolyU and Dame Zaha Hadid. "The new Jockey Club Innovation Tower will help PolyU cement its role as the design hub for Asia and extend its international reputation for creative design and innovation, thereby contributing more to Hong Kong's creative industries," he said.
The Jockey Club Innovation Tower is the creation of world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the first female to receive the Pritzker Architecture prize, whose designs were honoured by over 100 awards. Hadid said, "JCIT establishes PolyU's vision for future achievements. With the seamlessly fluid new structure, the Tower initiates a 'creative and multidisciplinary environment' where a variety of design programmes are delivered by diverse professions and expertise at PolyU; nurturing talents in a collective research culture where many contributions and innovations can influence each other."
This iconic and symbolic building is the fruit of collective efforts and tremendous support from many different parties. Prof. Tong, PolyU President said in the closing remarks, "This Jockey Club Innovation Tower is not only for our School of Design, it is for all our Faculties and Schools to work on their multi-disciplinary initiatives; it is not only for PolyU, it is for our whole community – the government, business and industry, NGOs, academia – for bringing our minds together, engaging in dialogues, jamming ideas and thus innovating."
The grand opening of JCIT also marks the opening of a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the School of Design as listed below:
- Exhibition: "The Next 50: Layers of Design Creativity from Hong Kong" (19 March–30 April)
- Lecture: "Design across scales and continents" by Dame Zaha Hadid (19 March)
- Lecture: "Award winning works of social innovation" by Ms Kigge Hvid (20 March)
- Lecture: "Design-driven innovation in healthcare" by Professor Richard Goossens (21 March)
- Closing Dialogue with Mr Thomas Heathwick (28 April)
About the Jockey Club Innovation Tower (JCIT)
The Jockey Club Innovation Tower (JCIT) is a new building dedicated by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University to its School of Design (SD) to cater for its expansion for broader range of design disciplines including industrial and products design, communication design, advertising design, digital and interactive media, and environment and interior design etc. In contributing HK$249 million towards the construction and fitting-out of JCIT, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust also covers the three-year operating costs of the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation. Located at the northeastern tip of the University's campus, this 15-storey Tower has 15,000 square metres of net floor area which can accommodate over 1,800 students and staff members. It houses contemporary and state-of-the-art facilities for design education and innovation including, exhibition areas, multi-functional classrooms and lecture theatre, design studios and workshops as well as communal lounge. With its distinct design, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower is set to become a new landmark in the heart of the city and drives the development of Hong Kong as a design hub in Asia.