Cover Photo: Affa Chan/Hong Kong Tatler

The team from Robert A.M. Stern Architects talks about the features that make St. George’s Mansions a unique addition to the Kadoorie Hill landscape

For the discerning property buyer, a rare opportunity has come up to own a home with one of the most exclusive addresses in Hong Kong. Sino Land and CLP Group have jointly announced a new luxury residential development to be built at the prestigious Kadoorie Avenue.

The new development is nestled in an urban oasis surrounded by sweeping green hills, conveniently located on the cusp of Ho Man Tin and Kowloon Tong. But what makes the development even more extraordinary is its history and the fact that the area hasn’t seen any significant changes in ownership in almost a century. Buying a property there is therefore not just a rare opportunity; it’s a chance at owning a legacy.

St. George’s Mansions will comprise of three conjoined towers with 175 apartments. The modern landmark is located in a neighbourhood rich in culture, heritage and grandeur, and is aimed at buyers who are hoping to pass it down through many generations.

Tracing its roots all the way back to the early 1930s, the area has long been a low-density neighbourhood. It has also been the site of the headquarters of China Light and Power Company (now known as CLP Group) and its famous clock tower. Many of the occupants of the area barely change, with many of the families having lived there for generations.

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Masterminds Behind St. George’s Mansions

Looking for the firm that would best reflect the historical and architectural significance of the property, the developers singled out legendary New York architect Robert A.M. Stern and his team at Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA).

“Robert Stern’s designs are eclectic and contextual, with meticulous details that embrace vernacular context and local traditions that stand the test of time,” says Daryl Ng, Deputy Chairman of Sino Land. “After Sino Land won the bid for the project in 2017, we appointed RAMSA’s team to use Kadoorie Hill’s history as inspiration, coupled with exceptional building materials to transform the development into the most remarkable flagship project we have ever built.”

Stern’s modern yet traditionalist approach to design makes the firm the perfect choice. Its design is unobtrusive and sensitive to Kadoorie Hill’s traditional architecture and natural surroundings.

“We want to figure out what’s appropriate to that place, taking ideas from the past but refreshing them to go forward,” says Stern.

“The Kadoorie Avenue address speaks for itself; it’s an incredible legacy and many people would want to live there,” says Grant F. Marani, a partner at RAMSA. “But another part of it is the quality of the materials that are going to be used, the investments that are being made, with value to be handed down.”

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Bespoke Architectural Elements

The designers liken the complex to a park with villas. “Our first impression of the place is that it’s a wonderful place that obviously had remarkable stewardship from the Kadoories, it’s been around for 100 years and it has remained intact, it hasn’t suffered the pressures of real estate,” says Marani. “Our design will build out of the existing architecture of Kadoorie Hill.”

Several of the stand-out architectural features include natural stone finishing that was handpicked from Portugal, which gives off a naturally warm glow in sunlight. The buildings will have bronze-coloured, aluminium-clad windows to give them the understated elegance of the luxury apartment homes in New York City’s Upper East Side.

But above all, the development will respect the history of Kadoorie Hill and will include elements such as CLP Group’s iconic clock tower, which will be restored and incorporated into the design.

“We used Gascogne beige limestone to complement both the off-white stucco walls of the surrounding homes and of the original CLP clock tower,” says Bina Bhattacharyya, Associate Partner at RAMSA. “It’s a beautiful stone that’s tough enough to withstand the Hong Kong climate and the test of time.”

Historical Significance and Value Preserved

According to Bhattacharyya, the team did extensive studies of the property’s proportion and scale, especially at the entrance facing Kadoorie Avenue, so residents will have the same arrival experience as their neighbours.

Most of the apartments at St. George’s Mansions will feature three or four bedrooms but there will also be a few with two. All the units will have their own exclusive lift lobby, and most will offer a spectacular view of Kadoorie Hill. There will also be five duplex units.

According to Sino Land, the design concept and subtle craftsmanship are intended to preserve the historical significance and value of the area—and to mirror the low profile ethos of the many established families living there.

“St. George’s Mansions’ impeccable craftmanship will be a prized possession for many generations,” says Tin.

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