Take a look at this photo from Central in Hong Kong and note the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) systems running up the cutout in the middle of the tower. Also note the bamboo scaffolding next door and the epic terrace on top of the ground floor bank. The building on the opposite side put parking on top of its podium.
I was told that systems are commonly run on the outside of buildings here to maximize interior square footage. Again, space is a precious commodity in this city. But it also speaks to not having to worry about freeze-thaw cycles. Winter in Hong Kong has so far equaled me walking around in a t-shirt.
These exposed systems look ugly as all hell, but I suppose they also mean not having to break open drywall when you have a problem.
I am fascinated by the relationship that buildings have between interior and exterior space. In cold cities like Toronto we are forced to hermetically seal off our buildings from the elements. We have to worry about thermal bridging and about heat tracing cold spots.
But in a city like Hong Kong I would imagine that the greater concern is stifling heat and humidity. All of this comes through in the built form.