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Hongkou Soho by Kengo Kuma – FMP Precedent

Hongkou Soho by Kengo Kuma is 2016 Best of Year Winner for Commercial Building/Lobby. This building was designed for the property developer Soho China. It is a 29 storey building that contains offices with a shared space on the ground floor.

The Interior

The ground floor of the building is a shared space which gives glimpses onto the street through the stripped facade. The building therefore becomes open and linked to the outside. It is a gentle connection that is expressed through the facade and this public ground floor space within the building.

“The public space is also like a creature’s skin, represented with stone and aluminium panels, which creates an atmosphere totally different from ordinary hard buildings.”

The Exterior, Site and Drawings

The strips of perforated aluminium create a pleated appearance to the facade of the building. This is achieved by using pieces of 18 millimetre wide aluminium mesh to create them. The building is designed to look like a pleated draping dress. The lengths of the aluminium are specifically angled to fit the buildings form and create the rippling effect.

“For the facade, we created pleats, made of aluminium mesh like woven lace, which forms a soft dress for women.” (Kengo Kuma and Associates).

“The pleats change their expressions gradually according to the angle, strength, and tone of sunshine.” (Kengo Kuma and Associates).

Why have I chosen Hongkou Soho as a Precedent for my FMP?

Kengo Kuma is one of my favourite architects, so when I saw this project, I thought it would be relevant to what I am doing for my project. Additionally, the public space on the ground floor contains hospitality and retail elements, therefore is a good precedent for a business and hospitality hub.

Colour Scheme – The colour scheme for the lobby of Hongkou Soho is very monochrome / black and white which makes the space really interesting. For my design, I am considering having my concept as light and dark vs heat and cool because I am designing a business and hospitality hub and different people like to work in different environments.

Connection – The Hongkou Soho building has the connection from interior to exterior through the windows and facade. This is something that I am considering for the design of my business and hospitality hub in certain spaces.

Materials and Light – The facade of the Hongkou Soho building is designed so that the pleated design of the building changes its appearance slightly depending on the angle of the sun. I would maybe like to add something to my building that possibly does this.

If you would like to see more work by Kengo Kuma, please visit the website at:

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