Observation 360

Team Leader:
Ip Kenneth Tze Chung

Team Member:
Yim Man Ching


How can we create a design that is not only a place of rest, but also provides a fresh perspective for the site?

Typical viewing platforms provide little else aside from shelter in terms of function. Traditionally, such shelters take the form of a pagoda or pavilion, creating a place to look at the scenery, sometimes with seating inside for visitors to rest. We approached the challenge by questioning whether the design could offer more in terms of function and to push the boundaries of the brief by not only offering some form of shelter, but also a new perspective to look at the surrounding.

By lowering one end of the viewing platform’s roof and curling it around in a loop, the design takes the form of a simple circular staircase, creating an upper and lower platform. Inspired by the hexagonal stepping of the geological feature, the design steps up in a terrace form to provide seating and a new perspective. The circular motion to access the upper level also encourages visitors to look around the site, turning back away from the main feature of Po Pin Chau to offer a 360o view of the entire site.


Inspired by the rugged nature of the site and the hexagonal form of the rocks forming Po Pin Chau, the design steps up in a tiered design to offer a new, previously unseen perspective on the feature island. As each tier rises, it forms a seating ledge for visitors to rest, while each step offers a different view of the site. The outer balustrade acts to form a framed perspective on the surrounding. At the lowest level, a raised deck built using the same component as the upper tiers create a seating platform for people to rest while being shaded by the steps above.

To blend in with the natural landscape, the design is constructed of two materials only, steel for the structure and timber for the platforms and balustrade. The materials takes on a natural hue which allows the building to blend harmoniously with the site.


Owing to the relative difficulty in accessing the site, the design relies heavily on off-site prefabrication to simplify on-site assembly. Taking inspiration from the hexagonal shapes of the rocks at the site, the design is fabricated from 6 identically sized panels with common components to create a circular terraced design that rises to create a series of seating and steps. Supported from a central band of steel columns, construction on site is limited to mechanical nut and bolt fixing with no need for welding or wet trade works. Using repeated components, the design is simplified for off-site fabrication.

The use of materials are limited to steel and timber. Combined with the design for simple assembly, the design is expected to be highly durable with little need for maintenance.