Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I have a new candidate for coolest research institute architecture. HKUST's Institute for Advanced Study is housed in an amazing building with a view of Clearwater Bay in HK. The members of the institute will be mostly theoretical physicists and mathematicians :-)

Stiff competition from Benasque's Center and the Perimeter Institute, however. Also Caltech's IQIM!

Click for larger images.

Compare to Dr. No's interrogation chamber :-)


Hamish Johnston said...

You don't get views like that from the PI in Waterloo!

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dxie48 said...

hmm. Circular 'sky well'. Typical southern Chinese Hakka circular walled fortress architecture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakka_architecture rather than the Beijing quadrangle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siheyuan or the quads of Harvard and Oxford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrangle_%28architecture%29 A defence against Beijing domination ? :)

There is no competition. At Clearwater Bay and the facade of the building already proclaiming clearly A1.

Bob said...

Well, this sure made my University look like a dunghole.
U of T's campus organization and architecture has no redeeming features as far as I know of.

Brian said...

It has one: it emulated LSU's clock tower and quadrangle layout (minus the northern Italian charm, plus a huge dose of giantism), as did Berkeley. I must say, HKUST's transporter facilities are quite fetching.

dxie48 said...

Ha. The Chinese has the habit of sometimes displaying word upside down,

Look at the other 3 facades of the building,
The superposition of the three spells out an upside down A1 :)

It signifies the attainment of A1 from all sides (everywhere).

Or is it A1 and antimatter A1 ??

Anyway here is a psychedelic picture,

Hacienda said...

Jutty, brutalitarian, imperial. Yeah. That's the ticket.

dxie48 said...

I was seeking confirmation of the above interpretation which I derived purely from the blueprint.

Professor Paul Chu was the President of HKST from 2001 to 2009.
Prof Chu is famous for discovering the high temperature superconductivity material known as YBCO.
I was wondering if the architext had put Prof Chu's thumb print on the building on his behave as
from the top roof plan
the letters YO can clearly be seen. However where are BC? I was wondering about that before I went to bed
and woke up with the idea that to solve the problem I must look outside the box. Yes the solution is outside
the box. The location is Clearwater Bay, so there are the letters BC. Picture of Prof Chua with the YBCO model
and the logo on his lab coat,

Anyway in 2007 Prof Chu laid out his vision for the HKUST IAS:


"To elevate HK research and scholastic standard to the highest level internationally by
becoming an academic Mecca for excellence in learning and innovation and a platform for
science, technology, education, and economic development for Hong Kong, China and beyond."

He did explicitly spell out 'academic Mecca'. (Mecca is not 'Makkah').

However Mecca is hard to represent geometrically.

Historically Plutarch asserted that Romulus constructed the Roma Quadrata (Square ROme) and the circular pomerium.
The square and the circle can clearly be seen from the plan view. And all roads lead to Rome. However ancient Roman
seemed not to know the reason for these.

Current knowledge has understood the facination of ancient Indo-European with mandala appearing in the Rig Veda,
which is a square containing a circle,
"mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe."

The ancient Chinese also had similar concept, as reflected in the jade artifact from about 3000 BCE,

Here the symbol of a circle within a square represent the universality of shared common belief and knowledge.

If you think that these are circumstancial, and if you have already graduated or will be graduating wearing the
square mortarboards on your round heads, you were/will be perpetuating this belief. In ancient China only the
emperors had the previlege of wearing this type of headgear,
"looks like a cylinder with a rectangle plate on the top. The front of the plate is round and the rear part is neat,
highlighting the ancient belief that Heaven is round and Earth square. The upper side of the plate is painted bluish
black, the color of Heaven, and the lower side is painted reddish yellow, the color of Earth. Tassels of jade beads
hang from the front and rare ends of the plate, symbolizing changes of the universe."

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