HSBC Main Building (Chinese: 香港滙豐總行大廈) is a headquarters building of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, which is today a wholly owned subsidiary of London based HSBC Holdings. It is located along the southern side of Statue Square near the location of the old City Hall, Hong Kong (built in 1869, demolished in 1933). The previous HSBC building was built in 1935 and pulled down to make way for the current building. The address remains as 1 Queen's Road Central. The building can be reached from Exit K of Central MTR Station and facing Statue Square.
The second design of the HSBC headquarters building, used from 1886 to 1933. The first HSBC (then known as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited) building was Wardley House, used as HSBC office between 1865 to 1882 on the present site. In 1864 the lease cost HKD 500 a month. After raising a capital of HKD 5 million, the bank opened its door in 1865. It was demolished in 1886 and rebuilt in the same year.
The main feature of the second building design was the division of the structure into two almost separate buildings. The building on Queen's Road Central was in Victorian style with a verandah, colonnades and an octagonal dome, whereas the arcade which harmonised with the adjacent buildings was constructed on Des Voeux Road. The third design of the HSBC headquarters building in 1936
In 1935, the second building was demolished and a third design was erected. The third design used part of the land of the old City Hall, and was built in a mixed Art Deco and Stripped Classical style. During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the building served as the government headquarters. Locally, it was the first building in Hong Kong to be fully air-conditioned.
The new building was designed by the British architect Lord Norman Foster and Civil & Structural Engineers Ove Arup & Partners (J. Roger Preston & Partners Engineering) and was constructed by Wimpey International. From the concept to completion, it took 7 years (1978–1985). The building is 180-metres high with 47 storeys and four basement levels. The building has a module design consisting of five steel modules prefabricated in the UK by Scott Lithgow Shipbuilders near Glasgow, and shipped to Hong Kong. 30,000 tons of steel and 4,500 tons of aluminium were used.
The main characteristic of HSBC Hong Kong headquarters is its absence of internal supporting structure. Another notable feature is that natural sunlight is the major source of lighting inside the building. There is a bank of giant mirrors at the top of the atrium, which can reflect natural sunlight into the atrium and hence down into the plaza. Through the use of natural sunlight, this design helps to conserve energy. Additionally, sun shades are provided on the external facades to block direct sunlight going into the building and to reduce heat gain. Instead of fresh water, sea water is used as coolant for the air-conditioning system.
The early British settlers in Hong Kong had an interest in Feng Shui; thus, most of the earliest buildings in Hong Kong, and many buildings constructed thereafter, were built with the philosophies of Feng Shui in mind. The Chinese believe that those who have a direct view of a body of water—whether it is a river, a sea, or an ocean—are more likely to prosper than those who do not (water is strongly associated with wealth in Feng Shui). The HSBC building has a wide open area (the Statue Square) in front of it, with no other buildings blocking its view of Victoria Harbour; thus, it is considered to have "good feng shui"