ACommons: Rick Lam, AIA, Eric Ho, Hokan Wong, Inness Cheng, and April Tang

An exploration of a new cradle-to-cradle urban typology – a floating community of inverted towers that emerge from the ocean capable of producing its own resources, cleaning the ocean, and upcycling waste.


With  rising sea level and scarcity of developable land in Hong Kong, more urgent and extreme measures must be taken to develop Net Positive built environments. Large scale land reclamation  can no longer suffice, nor does it fulfill ecological concerns. The Hydro Tower is the response to such an extreme condition. It is a campus of different living environments floating on the ocean. The campus’s “Infrastructure Sector” is an inverted tower plunged into the ocean. It forms a huge open atrium in the middle to collect sea water, with ocean debris recycling factories below, and a hydroelectric power generator at the bottom to generate clean energy 24/7. Not only does the tower clean the seawater constantly it also recycles the pollutants that are deposited into the tower. Based on the “Infrastructure Sector” typology, other essential functions of society such as the “Living Sector”,“Farming Sector” and “Wilderness Sector” are designed and carefully placed around each other to form a self-sustaining community. This group of inverted towers will be able to produce food, energy, potable water and other upcycled goods. The towers are connected with a floating path where habitants can roam freely in this community.


Gail Kubik, Assoc. AIA, Finegold Alexander Architects, Salem, Massachusetts

Sandra Montalbo, Assoc. AIA, San Antonio, Texas

Todd Ray, FAIA, Page Southerland Page, Inc, Washington, D.C.

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