From its completion in 2003 to 2010, the enormous Two International Finance Centre was Hong Kong’s tallest building.
Building the Skyscraper
Situated on Hong Kong Island near the narrowest crossing of the Victoria Harbour, 2 IFC – as it has become known – is a stunning architectural accomplishment. Designed by Cesar Pelli, who is responsible for myriad other well-known buildings including those of the Brookfield Place in New York, this soaring tower reaches a height of 1,362 feet (415 meters).
Pelli gave the building a somewhat tapered look, with the floors at the top of the 88-story building being slightly smaller than the ones below. Covered in lightly reflective glass panels and pearl-colored mullions, the building is topped with a crown that reaches inward and upward. The floor plan is open, with few columns taking up space inside. A central core houses the primary structure and building services. At its completion in 2003, Two International Finance Centre was equipped with the finest state-of-the-art equipment suitable for conducting high-stakes business, including high-bandwidth fiber-optic, wireless, and satellite networks and trading floors with exceptionally tall ceilings.
The building is cooled using seawater and there are 62 double-decker elevators that service the building, resulting in an average wait time of only 30 seconds!
Because it was being built when the World Trade Center tragedy occurred, the safety of the building was double checked again and again and Two IFC is considered one of the safest buildings in the world. Experts say evacuation of the building could be accomplished in less than 30 minutes.
The IFC complex
Two IFC is part of a larger complex that was completely built on top of land reclaimed from Victoria Harbour. Adjacent to the Two IFC is the One IFC tower, a 210m/689ft tall skyscraper with the same design as its larger neighbor. Also part of the complex are a 40 story hotel and 55 story residential tower, both built in 2005. The IFC complex also includes a mall and the MTR Hong Kong Station, which connects Hong Kong Island with the city’s international airport.
Relinquishing the Title
Two International Finance Centre wasn’t the tallest building in Hong Kong for long. In 2010 it was replaced by the International Commerce Centre, situated across the harbor in West Kowloon and almost 70 meters taller than 2 IFC. Together, the two similarly designed towers form the Victoria Harbour Gateway.