Standing at the hustling junction of Queen’s Road East and Kennedy Road, the site area of Wesleyan House is only 800m² but it needs to hold facilities with size of 11,000m², including the Main Sanctuary, the halls and activity rooms, the Sky Chapel, offices, social service floors and residence for pastoral workers.
The building inevitably needs to go ‘up’. For the vertical arrangement of the spaces, the Sanctuary and halls are at the lower floors, with an open area at the ground floor for the congregation to gather and disperse, while creating space for church members to meet. The halls that hold smaller sizes of service are at upper floors, culminating with the Sky Chapel at the top enjoys spectacular north harbour view and green hills to its south. Other floors are so arranged to reflect their functional relationship as well as the required adjacencies to suit their functions.
Design Concept Statement
Although a typical city locale, we aimed to have Wesleyan House stand out from adjacent conventional high-rise buildings with a tower sitting on podium. The contour of the building defines its skyline by slanting gently from the base to the top, generates curving exterior, manifesting notion of embracing and flowing in spatial planning with interplay of exterior and interior. Creating a refreshing spiritual oasis for the Wan Chai community.
To create a peaceful and solemn worship place, natural daylight for the Sanctuary is focused on the altar with a backdrop of a 8m tall wall in pure solid white, punctuated along by a glazed cross-shaped opening. The lightscope above the ceiling softens and diffuses the sunlight onto the altar.
Projecting a sense of frugality and simplicity, the building avoids the use of curtain wall, individual casement windows are arranged like masonry pattern, inspired by the stone wall of the existing building.
A tapered shape has been adopted to break down the scale of the building when viewed from corner of the site. The building has a stepped profile to reduce building mass and creates breezeways of adjacent buildings for better air ventilation, which also creates flat roofs at various levels along south elevation. With solid core wall facing east, elevation design adopted casement windows instead of curtain wall to minimize heat gain particularly on west elevation, while fully glazed window facing north and south was designed for sky chapel at top floor capturing the panoramic view on both sides.
The covered open space at street level facilitates pedestrian circulation and allows ventilation/viewing corridors through Kennedy Road and Queen’s Road East, creating an unique pedestrian experience. Besides, most of the residential quarters are provided with cross ventilation to enhance user’s comfort. Wesleyan House target to obtain silver rating under the BeamPlus assessment.
Working in a region with disparate cultural and physical landscapes, where values from diverging times and places converge, Rocco Design Architects Associates is founded in the belief that architecture is the exemplar of culture embracing and reinterpreting the past and the modernity, and the requirements of contemporary living. While always eager to explore and innovate, our works are marked by their sensitivity and sensibility with awareness that architecture, more than an art, is ultimately the art of problem-solving.
Rocco Design currently has about 140 staff with offices in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Our works have been consistently awarded locally and internationally. Notably ones include First Prize for the L’Opéra de la Bastille International Competition in 1983, the Chicago Athenaeum Architectural Awards in 2006, 2011 and 2013, and the ULI Global Award of Excellence in 2014. We were the first Hong Kong architect to have solo exhibition at the Berlin Aedes Forum in 2015.