PolyU celebrates topping-out of Jockey Club Innovation Tower

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) today (24 September) hailed the topping-out of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower on campus. Upon its completion, the new premises will be home to PolyU School of Design (SD) and the newly established Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation. The 15-storey Tower is also the first permanent architecture by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid in Hong Kong.

The topping-out ceremony was held on the university campus, with The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) Chairman Mr T Brian Stevenson; PolyU Council Chairman Ms Marjorie Yang Mun-tak; former Council Chairman Mr Victor Lo; PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong and Dean of SD Professor Cees de Bont officiating at the event.

Addressing the ceremony, Professor Tong said the topping-out ceremony is one of the major events for PolyU’s 75th Anniversary celebrations. He is also thankful for the ardent support of HKJC in turning this mammoth project into reality.

The construction of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower was approved by the Government in 2009, and PolyU is required to raise one-quarter of the construction cost to cover the enhanced features. In 2010, The HKJC Charities Trust kindly approved a donation of $249 million to support the Innovation Tower project and the set up of Design Institute for Social Innovation. Both set-ups were named after HKJC in recognition of its tremendous support.

“This is the largest single donation ever received by the University since its establishment in 1937. We are truly grateful for the Jockey Club for their generous support to this project as well as many other initiatives undertaken by PolyU over the years,” said Professor Tong.

Mr T Brian Stevenson, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, told the guests that an environment where people come together to generate and realise new ideas was needed for the city to thrive in innovation. “This is where the Design Institute for Social Innovation can make such a great contribution to Hong Kong’s development and sustain Hong Kong’s position as a leading design and creative hub in the region. With this magnificent new Innovation Tower, PolyU can look forward to becoming a renowned centre for creative design and innovation,” he said.

The ceremony began with a video message by the Chief Architect Zaha Hadid, who warmly congratulated the University on this joyous occasion. It came to a climax when the officiating guests signed their names on a metal beam and each contributed an item for the time capsule, both of which will be placed in the Innovation Tower.

Professor Cees de Bont, Dean of SD, said, “In Hong Kong, PolyU is the sole provider of design tertiary education, and SD is the budding ground for many internationally renowned designers. The new building will bring us opportunities to work with other disciplines, companies and NGOs; offer an up-to-date learning and teaching environment; a chance to connect with our alumni; and to provide a focal point for Hong Kong to make a statement in the region with its design achievements.”

The new Tower is located at the northeastern tip of the university campus. Construction work began in 2009 and the whole project is expected to be completed by by mid 2013. Upon its completion, the Tower will provide 15,000 square metres of net floor area and be able to accommodate about 1,800 staff and students. It will house a lecture hall, 10 classrooms, design studios and workshops as well as a design museum, exhibition space and a communal viewing lounge.

With its distinct design, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower is set to become a new landmark in the heart of the city.

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