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Shortlist Announced for M+ at West Kowloon Cultural District
Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012 |

Earlier today the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority announced the winners of the competition for the Xiqu Centre. Also unveiled today was the shortlist of six design teams that have been invited to submit proposals for the architectural design of M+, Hong Kong’s future museum for 20th and 21st century visual culture within the District.

The six shortlisted teams are:

  • Herzog & de Meuron + TFP Farrells
  • Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA
  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop
  • Shigeru Ban Architects + Thomas Chow Architects
  • Snøhetta
  • Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects + Benoy Limited

Photo from this year's Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei Exhibition (Photo courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

Click above image to view slideshow
Photo from this year's Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei Exhibition (Photo courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

Scheduled for completion in 2017, M+ is an ambitious project. The scale of the museum building alone, at around 62,000 square meters, will be on par with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Situated on the waterfront of the Victoria Harbour at the edge of a 14-hectare park, the architecture brief will be shaped around the museum’s core values. It will provide vital space for artists to meet, exhibit and experiment and will house a world-class permanent collection of Hong Kong, Chinese, and Asian visual culture: art, design, architecture and the moving image.

Vision for M+ by Herzog & de Meuron + TFP Farrells:

"Herzog & de Meuron start each project free of predetermined ideas, guided by curiosity and conscious naivety. Developed through rational methodologies and open dialogue, we design projects that respond to the needs of users and are meaningful to their context. M+ has the opportunity and responsibility to lead the architecture and atmosphere of the West Kowloon Cultural District in its development.

M+ shall address all of its neighbours with equal consideration whether it be sea or land, city or park, underground or sky, tunnel or tower. The responses to each internal and external condition will ultimately shape M+ into its final form.

We imagine a variety of exhibition possibilities – both inside and outdoors – that provide the very specific and the very flexible by offering a range of spaces and uses that embrace difference and individuality, rather than repetition or one-size-fits-all universality.

M+ shall be much more than an individual building, but instead like a small city with entrance gates, gathering places, main avenues and side streets. Movement, of people and objects, shall be conceived horizontally and vertically, like Hong Kong itself, to achieve openness and accessibility.

As a shared platform for the local and global to meet, M+ shall both grow out of and nourish the evolving cultural community of Hong Kong and include a large distribution of education spaces that encourage direct and spontaneous learning.

The ability to choose and create one’s own experience could be a key factor that differentiates M+ from previous incarnations of the big museum, and leads it to become not only a global centre of culture, but a common space in Hong Kong to generate new perceptions, new phenomena and new contexts.

We would be honoured to work with the WKCDA and people of Hong Kong to develop the new M+ together."

Vision for M+ by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA:

"At SANAA, our architectural design arises from conditions particular to the site and program. This approach will certainly inform the design process of M+, as we foresee elements of Hong Kong and the West Kowloon Cultural District such as cultural identity, landscape and history to become the datum of the project.

In this new museum for the 20th and 21st century art and visual culture, there will be exhibitions for the displaying of works with a wide range of media and sizes. We will analyze the different types of art to understand the spectrum of scales and lighting that will be necessary to accommodate it. We also understand that fl exibility is a key component to the design, as it allows curators the freedom to display and install any type of art however they prefer.

Since M+ will be among the fi rst buildings constructed in the WKCD, it will have to function both autonomously and in strong connection with its context, becoming both a landmark and a gateway towards the promenade of the cultural district beyond. The site will be greeting metro riders and park goers, museum visitors and tourists, transitioning from green spaces to urban context, on a waterfront with expansive views of the active Hong Kong skyline across the Victoria Harbor. This fervent junction of different activities and disparate qualities will offer insight for the development of the project’s shape, character and identity.

While at fi rst, the program will drive the design of the interior spaces and the site that of the exterior; the fi nal project will refl ect both approaches as a whole. Furthermore, we understand the character of innovation that the brief calls for, in proposing new ideas for exhibition spaces. We look forward to this challenge and are confi dent that we will achieve the desired result."

Vision for M+ by Renzo Piano Building Workshop:

"Urban waterfronts are magical places. Places where people and cultures meet, where differences do not matter but inspire.

Places where the light and colours are more beautiful than anywhere else. We cannot imagine a better place to build a new museum than at the shores of Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong.

Since the Pompidou Centre in Paris and through the other institutions we have designed in the office in later days, we continuously expressed the idea that museums are mixing disciplines and are accessible places for everybody.

The M+ museum will be more than a museum, which is a great new challenge.

It will be a place for people, a place for art, where both meet and interact. Art makes people better people, more articulated, more curious, just better people. Buildings for art become ‘Places for People’ and they make cities better places to live in.

An important aspect is the art of making, the art of building, piece by piece. Exploring and working at the beauty, the craftsmanship and the technical advancement of each building element. We want to build a good building, good meaning in every sense of the word, this is important as museums last for hundreds of years.

We share the great and courageous ambition of M+ and the people of Hong Kong. We are very happy to be selected for this competition."

Vision for M+ by Shigeru Ban Architects + Thomas Chow Architects:

"The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) will be developed into a cultural hub as one of the world’s largest and most ambitious integrated developments of art and culture. The M+, as a keystone development of the WKCD with a physical scale on par with some of the world’s largest museums for visual culture, aims to re-defi ne the meaning and nature of the ‘museum’ of the coming century.

The collaboration of Shigeru Ban Architects + Thomas Chow Architects together envision M+ and the WKCD to become a place for everyone, from Hong Kong citizens to visitors from abroad, and art seekers to the casual passerby. Centrally located within the WKCD, a masterplan will be developed that integrates pedestrian circulation with multi-layered functions and activities with the goal of creating a smart public realm that can be embraced by its users.

The M+ design shall cater to the phased development of the WKCD site and allow the necessary fl exibility during these stages. The facility itself will be designed to maximise fl exibility in its function, operation, programmability, and physical confi gurable spaces, and shall remain adaptable to the changing needs of the future. Technically, the museum will incorporate leading technologies, while giving careful consideration and innovative solutions to environmental control and use of materials.

The architecture of the M+ itself will be iconic by its new defi nition and programming, and in its contextual relationship of Hong Kong. M+ will aspire to become an iconic representation of Hong Kong to the world."

Vision for M+ by Snøhetta:

"The Museum+ will be a place for experimentation, a cultural laboratory. This space will be shaped and formed by the co-creative forces of the users themselves in dialogue with the artistic and academic direction of the Museum. In this way the building becomes not frozen music but rather an instrument, upon which we can play. This instrument is not a white cube nor a black box, empty in its expression. The wider urban context requires an outward expression of the values and ethos of the place and content.

Growing from the inside out, the Museum+ sets demands on its thresholds and boundaries, the box must be opened, blurring the definition of inside and outside, private and public, intimate and monumental. Accessible in the urban context, visually accessible, physically accessible and above all mentally accessible. In designing this building we can no longer accept the traditional boundaries between the disciplines of architecture, interior and landscape, we must all transposition. The design team must be wide and inclusive, not restrictive to accepted design professionals. Process is important, this must be designed to allow the content and energy in the Museum+ to form and shape the physical manifestation. Content driven, the space will be formed by the processes inside. Today these will be both digital and analogue at the same time. The one continually cross referencing and informing the other.

At the heart of the Museum+ is a sense of experience. It is how the user moves through and experiences the spaces and becomes immersed in the content that defines the place. The Museum+ will become an icon in the city, it is however the experience and memory of experience that will become iconic and make the Museum+ a relevant and essential component in the cultural context of the city."

Vision for M+ by Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects + Benoy Limited:

"Hong Kong is an international city located geographically at the Centre of Asia, at the same time opens out towards Europe and America. The West Kowloon Cultural District is therefore a project of grand scale that acts as a major hub of cultural exchange between Asian and Western Culture. The M+ being at the heart of the development, must become the leading symbol of 21st Century Visual Culture, opening out to people world-wide.

M+ embodying four genres of Visual Culture - Visual Art, Design, Moving Images and Pop Culture – in one premise makes an unprecedented Museum. With the neighboring Lyric Hall and other cultural facilities, the site of M+ will become overflown with passionate Art and Culture. The M+ must become a medium that allow these elements to creatively mingle with each other, creating both a stimulating program and spatial experience.

The site context of M+ makes the museum a major node within the stretch of the Cultural District, connecting the City Park and Cultural Facilities on the E-W Axis, the Urban Area and the Water front on the N-S Axis. The M+ rather than reinforcing these boundaries by becoming a museum for mere art appreciation, it must captures all these elements and transform into an exciting and welcoming museum that becomes a part of HK’s global tourist infrastructure."



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