Exalting urban transformation

Hong Kong, China
Photos by Michael Weber and Nigel Young

View of the magnificent Murray Building after it was transformed into a luxurious hotel.

A structure designed for offices has been recently transformed into a top of the range hotel. The Murray is a preservation project by British international studio Foster + Partners. The renovation of the former government headquarters tower, the Murray Building was a part of Hong Kong’s Conserving Central Project with the aim to reinvent the abandoned urban quarter by stitching together the urban fabric, while upgrading a historical building structure originally designed by the Public Works Department and completed in 1969.


The Murray Building is reconnected with the city, with the linked large green spaces flanking the site to the East and West to encourage a wider transformation of the public area around the hotel. The landscape grounds were extended, incorporating a public Tai Chi area and creating a new street frontage on Garden Road. An alternative pedestrian rout elegantly invites guests into the marvellous four-storey high arches entrance, one of the signature elements of the modern building. The Murray Building has been thus transformed into a luxury destination, a 336-room hotel in a 25-storey tower. The new design creates a dialogue between the old and the new, giving the building a renewed purpose, with a unique sense of character that is embedded within the fabric of the building.
The experience of the guests is harmonious, from the first arrival to strolling through the building into the interiors that showcase the inherent beauty of materials, all coming together within a holistic project vision. The new design retains the façade, characterised by a distinctive pattern made up of a grid of windows. In the original project, led by modernist architect Ron Philips, the windows were carefully orientated and designed to not allow the sun effect the interior energy conservation, gaining the Energy Efficient Building Award in 1994. Foster + Partners have celebrated this by making the windows larger and transforming them into perfect squares, offering a better view of the city. They also introduced new functions to the structure, more adapt to the on-going new demands of the evolving city, enriching its sustainable legacy for years to come.
The rooftop bar and restaurant reflect Hong Kong’s vibrant cosmopolitan style, open to the city’s flamboyant population. The interior spaces host guests with Aston sofas and lounge little armchairs animated by vivacious Cesar side tables.

A wraparound terrace frames the restaurant with Aston “Cord” Outdoor sofas, armchairs, and dining chairs.
The upper level suites are angled to create a generous central living space. They benefit from a spectacular view of the harbour and the peaks and gardens giving space to a panoramic reading area with the Fulton desk, a dining room area with the Morgan Marble table and Aston dining chairs and a relaxing area with Aston armchairs and Allen sofas.