Zaha Hadid. Hong Kong. The Innovation Tower

Zaha Hadid’s off to Hong Kong. The renowned, London-based designer just got the nod to build the Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (one of the schools featured on this year’s BusinessWeek list of the Best D-schools).

The 130,000 square foot complex will cost $51 million (mostly funded by the local government) and is due to break ground by 2009. The design, meanwhile, is quintessential Hadid: both futuristic and organic. And the interior will certainly reflect her — and university leaders’ — interest in the organic organization of things. A host of research labs, disciplines, spaces, lecture halls, classrooms and exhibition spaces will be housed here, with the idea both to elevate design’s status within the campus as a whole (by luring unwitting students from other disciplines into the shiny new space) and so to bring about interesting, unexpected collaboration once they’re there. A petri dish for innovation, if you will — and a very pretty one, at that.

PS What’s with architects’ obsession with boats? This one’s touted as an “ocean liner in full steam”. Frank Gehry’s building for IAC in NYC is described as having the “billowing sails” of a ship. Renzo Piano’s obsessed with Viking ships — and builds his boats. That’s three. A trend!

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