Building Plans Take Shape in Hong Kong

Published on February 10, 2015

Plans are taking shape for Chicago Booth to carve out a new outpost in Asia with the renovation of the historic Mount Davis site. The project, which is in the approval process, would create a University of Chicago center housing the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program in Asia. The site, an oasis within the dense urban landscape of Hong Kong, would establish a new intellectual hub, opening up opportunities to influence some of the best organizations in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

A Unique Site: Juxtaposing history and the future

The historic site on Mount Davis served as an artillery battery in the 1930s and after World War II was converted to a mess and clubhouse for British officers. It later served as a government detention facility.

The buildings would be adaptively reused and key architectural elements such as gates and fireplaces would be preserved in accordance with local conservation management guidelines, according to Gavin Tun, director of project management for Booth and the University of Chicago. “The school intends to preserve the history of the site,” he said.

The main structure will be a three-story, ribbon-shaped building suspended above the existing historical elements, said Francis Yan Mang-yan, managing director of the Hong Kong office of Bing Thom Architects, the architect for the construction and renovation project. The building’s undulating shape would blend into the hillside contours, he said, and a planned viewing deck would let people take in the seascape and sunset. The intention would be to have the space divided into classrooms, meeting rooms, and lounges.

Walking trails within the site are part of the planned improvements and they would remain accessible to the public; the trails would be connected to the public trail system. Discussions are also in the works to create a Heritage Interpretive Center, which would remain open to the public during designated hours.

The gross floor area of the grounds is approximately 52,000 square feet, with the proposed new building accounting for approximately 43,000 square feet.

The building designs have been submitted for Town Planning approval.

“The center will allow us to engage even more effectively with the business and academic communities in Hong Kong,” said Sunil Kumar, Chicago Booth Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management. “It will be a testament to our lasting commitment to educating leaders in the region.”

Mount Davis Timeline

  • Land grant submission - January 2015
  • Town planning submission - January 2015
  • Town planning approval - June 2015
  • Land grant execution - June 2016
  • Construction start - August 2016
  • Occupancy - August 2018