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Building Beyond Boundaries

Dutch Architecture firm OMA has strategically re-aligned its Hong Kong office to achieve its business goals in Asia

Co-founded by internationally acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaas in 1975, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) is well-known in the global architecture scene for its projects, such as the Seattle Central Library in the US, Casa da Música in Portugal, Beijing CCTV headquarters and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in China, to name a few. With the headquarters in Rotterdam, OMA has recently strategically aligned its regional headquarters in Hong Kong to a team of 35, managing projects in Asia including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

Building Beyond Boundaries

Chris van Duijn, partner at OMA, revealed that the transformation allows the Hong Kong team to have a more focused and balanced portfolio. “With our current team size, we have more freedom to select projects that we want to do and enhance our portfolio. What’s more important for us is the quality rather than the quantity,” he said.

Over the last few years, van Duijn has led a variety of projects in Asia, ranging from pavilion design, flagship mixed use projects to large scale masterplanning, many of which were initiated from the Hong Kong office. “Having a regional headquarters in Hong Kong has gained us a certain reputation in the region over the years. Many clients in Asia came directly to us because of the projects we have been working,” he said.

According to van Duijn, OMA’s communicative approach to clients is their key to success. “We are not like a master architect that provides one sketch and says ‘this is the best design for you.’ We always take time to talk to our clients and make sure we understand their requirement inside-out,” he explained, “we tend to be very open throughout the process.”

Residing in Rotterdam, he travels between Hong Kong and Rotterdam every two weeks to maintain the project quality, making sure that works by the Hong Kong team share the same vision across OMA international offices.

Van Duijn thinks that opportunity brought by the Belt and Road initiative has started emerging in the architecture world. “Although at this stage many of the projects from the Belt and Road initiative are focusing on the infrastructure, we do see some Chinese investors looking for partners for projects in the Middle East or other regions. We believe there will be more opportunities for architecture projects,” he remarked.

Van Duijn is impressed by the diversity and energy offered by the city. “Hong Kong is an energetic, fast, diverse and ambitious city with people who dare to decide. This would benefit architecture firms as the decision-making process is much faster and efficient,” he noted. “It is also conveniently located near many other Asian countries, and is an excellent place for living and working.”

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • OMA Hong Kong office was set up in 2010
  • Hong Kong is the regional headquarters of Asia and currently has approximately 35 employees

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