New exhibition of West Kowloon Cultural District plans opens in Hong Kong

• October 5, 2011

If you are now in Hong Kong, let’s take the chance to visit the new exhibition of West Kowloon Cultural District plans. The Plan is based on Foster + Partners’ City Park conceptual plan which earned enormous public support and was selected by the Board of WKCDA in March 2011 as the masterplan for the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District (“WKCD”). This is the third and final public engagement exercise and will last for a month, after which the scheme will be finalised for submission to the Town Planning Board around the end of 2011.

Once again, we have listened to the people of Hong Kong and the design has evolved as a result. We have incorporated the spaces and features that matter most to them – their input is vital to make the new cultural quarter a success long-term. We have been equally inspired by everything that makes Hong Kong such a great place – its energy, the shape of the streets and their rich mixture of activities. In this way, the new quarter will be a familiar extension of the city, but will offer so much more to Hong Kong’s cultural life.

Norman Foster

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners’ masterplan is a framework for a sustainable new urban quarter focused on 17 core arts and cultural facilities. The views expressed by the public during the previous exhibitions have been incorporated into the design – the result is a more diverse sequence of urban spaces, including three new squares along the quarter’s main artery, The Avenue: Xiqu Square, Central Square and Artist Square.

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Section, drawing courtesy Foster + Partners

In response to stakeholder demand, West Kowloon Cultural District now includes a Freespace with a 150-seat Music Box; a variety of different Arts Pavilions; installations of public art across the district; and, subject to relevant statutory provisions, a floating arts pontoon along the waterfront and piers for water access.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

There is an even richer mix of activities – new arts education facilities, resident company centres and arts and crafts studios, all connected by a new ground level public transport system. Some of the cultural buildings have also been renamed and relocated. The Xiqu Centre has been moved from Central Square to Canton Road, in order to establish better synergy with the neighbourhood. M+ has been relocated from Canton Road to the headland of the Great Park, the focal point of Artist Square. The Concert Hall, now called the Music Centre to reflect its wider function, becomes the focal point of Central Square, together with the Centre for Contemporary Performance, which was formerly a cluster of black box theatres.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

+ About West Kowloon Cultural District

West Kowloon Cultural District – the largest cultural initiative of its kind in the world – will establish a major centre for music, performing and visual arts on a dramatic harbour-front site in the heart of Hong Kong. The seventeen new cultural venues include a Great Opera House; ‘M+’ museum of modern art; concert halls; and a 15,000-seat Arena with an Expo Centre below and will support everything from traditional Chinese theatre to pop concerts and opera. Equally important are 30,000 square metres of arts education facilities that will encourage home-grown artistic talent and ensure that the district provides long lasting benefits for the people of Hong Kong.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

Bringing together places to live and work, with galleries, studios, shops, cafes and restaurants, the mixed-use district is designed to capture and recreate the energy and unique urban character of Hong Kong, integrating the cultural venues with the everyday life of the city. West Kowloon’s familiar street pattern is reflected in a rich mixture of colonnades, alleyways, lanes and tree-lined promenades – streetscapes that recall the bustle of Lan Kwai Fong and Shanghai Street. The district features a magnificent 23-hectare public park – its sculpted terrain, with dense tree planting, will provide shade and shelter and bring the countryside into the city, while a series of outdoor terraces and promenades will link the cultural buildings to the waterfront with vistas to Hong Kong Island.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

An uninterrupted two-kilometre-long harbour-front promenade will give the people of Hong Kong their first chance to look back at the city’s iconic skyline and the needs of pedestrians and cars are balanced by sinking the main vehicle route below ground level. A social focus is created along a new central avenue, which extends through the quarter from Canton Road in the east to the Harbour Tunnel mouth in the west.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

City Park is designed to achieve a carbon-neutral rating, using a synergistic system of high-efficiency and low-consumption infrastructure. The low-energy design includes district cooling and heating, grey water recycling, energy recovery systems for sewage, waste recycling, a waste-to-energy scheme and the generation of local, low-carbon electricity. There is also provision for solar and wind energy generation.

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Render courtesy Foster + Partners

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Category: Master Plan

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