Indoor Public Space : A study of atria in mass transit railway (MTR) complexes of Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

21 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Journal / PublicationUrban Design International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


Building and city are mutual ground and figure. In the process of urban development, buildings are typically shaped by urban space. In the past few decades, Hong Kong has become noted for its record economic development and its exceptional compact use of urban land. Shortage of developable land and pressures of increasing population have shaped Hong Kong's existing urban form. Although it has been criticized for its lack of identity, Hong Kong's architecture has indeed demonstrated several unique and distinct features. Most notably, the incorporation of internalized public spaces together with elevated pedestrian systems into major urban buildings is successfully designed and utilized in local urban contexts. This pragmatic design is particularly obvious in the comprehensive mega-structures above and around the city's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations. In these mega-structure buildings, atrium spaces are focal points physically and psychologically. With the trend of more holistic integration and superimposition of various functions and buildings in these MTR properties, atriums have become increasingly significant local public spaces. This article attempts to analyse the atrium spaces of station-related properties to correlate the building interiors and urban spaces. Three Hong Kong atrium features are identified for their corresponding community values. As an objective of this research, the authors hope to provide useful references for developers, architects and planners to create meaningful public space in dense urban environment. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • atrium, high density, mass transit railway, mega-structure, pedestrian system