The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.


For many years a small trading post of Imperial China, Hong Kong Island was ceded to the British in 1841 in the Treaty of Nanking. The British took possession of Kowloon in an 1860 treaty, and obtained the New Territories in 1898 through a 99-year lease. The British controlled Hong Kong until 1997, with the exception of 1941-1945, when it was occupied by the Japanese. In 1997 the British handed over sovereignty to China. Under the current "One Country, Two Systems" policy, China is responsible for the city's defense and foreign affairs, while the city controls most of its internal government.

"Central" is the name of Hong Kong's financial district, home to many of the city's most famous skyscrapers. Sandwiched between a thin strip of flat land between the harbor and the mountains, it has served as the center of business and government since the founding of the colony in 1841. Originally consisting of a row of warehouses and offices along the shore, Central has expanded both horizontally, as increasing areas of harbor were reclaimed, and vertically, as historic buildings have been replaced by taller and taller towers.


Hong Kong Harbor in 1960 (left) and 1977 (right.)

Hong Kong's second business district is Wan Chai, located on the harbor to the east of Central. It is a very dense area, crowded with skyscrapers, including its landmark, Central Plaza, at 1,227 feet, as well as many traditional Chinese shops and markets. Like Central, it has grown significantly through successive land reclamations.