The AIG Tower

1 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong

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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.

Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation
Click here to license this image for your business.
Click to buy prints for your home or office.



1 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Bordering Streets

Connaught Road Central
Murray Road
Chater Road
Club Street


Central Hong Kong

Fast Facts



Maximum Height

607 feet / 185 meters



By Wayne Lorentz

Sometimes it only takes a few touches to stand out from the crowd. The designers of AIG Tower know this, and apparently put the notion to work in their creation. In form, this is the classic glass box -- but modified. Tapered at the top and bottom on three sides, it is intended to evoke the shape of the sails of the traditional Chinese junks that once plowed through the swells of Victoria Harbor. Detractors, however, compare the overall shape to an early 80's mobile telephone; but criticism of its shape is uncommon, especially at night when special illumination turns the building from the form of a Chinese junk to that of a Chinese lantern. This is accomplished by lights that are actually inside the glass curtain wall, causing the building to glow from within.

Most detractors instead zero in on the giant offset video screens at the top of the building. These displays fill part of the space at the top of the building where the mechanical elements are, and help hide the unsightly bits. The animated logo displayed is that of the building's namesake. Instead of finding this an innovative method of branding, some consider it a crass commercial blaring across the skyline. Somehow they conveniently forget the hundreds of other illuminated signs fringing the top of scores of other Hong Kong buildings, and zero in on this one. But the sign has at least two interesting features. 1: It can be easily changed if the building's name changes; and 2: the animation is little more than a screen saver running on Microsoft Windows, and those with keen eyes have spotted people occasionally using the computer to check their e-mail, unknowingly telegraphing their personal lives to the entire city.

Still, in spite of its quirks, this building works unusually well. Its posture makes it seem much taller than its 40 stories, and its location should keep it visibly prominent in the skyline for some time to come.

Raw Data

Construction Start


Construction End




Size[Explanation ♐]

Maximum Height: 607 feet / 185 meters

Floors[Explanation ♐]

36 stories above grade

Noteworthy Facts

• This building is on the location where AIG opened its first office in Hong Kong in 1930.
• The video screens at the top of the building reportedly contain 4,400,000,000,000 LEDs. If they were square, that would be just over two million per side.
• This building had an average construction speed of four days per floor.
• While some web sites incorrectly list this building as 39 or even 40-stories, it actually only has 36.
• This was formerly the location of the Furama Hotel.

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• skyscraper - See more: (local) (region) (global)
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• commercial - See more: (local) (region) (global)

People and Companies


Lai Sun Development

Architecture Firm

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill


John Ostlund


• December, 2001: Demolition of the Furama Hotel began.
• November, 2002: Construction of the AIG Tower began.
• December 9, 2004: Topping out of the AIG Tower.
• May, 2005: Building construction finished
• October 6, 2005: The AIG Tower opening ceremony was held.

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