West Kowloon Cultural District

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West Kowloon Cultural District
Traditional Chinese 西九文化區
The model of one of the plans

The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), is a proposed and developing project to boost cultural and entertainment establishments at Hong Kong, SAR. Located at the wedge-shaped waterfront reclaimed land west of Yau Ma Tei, the district will feature a new museum of visual culture, numerous theatres, concert halls and other performance venues under the management of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, which is directly financed by the government with an upfront endowment of HK$21.6 billion for construction and operation.[1]

The West Kowloon Cultural District is the largest arts and cultural project in Hong Kong to date. It aims to be developed as an arts and cultural hub with world-class facilities. Taking up 40 hectares, the district will include 17 core arts and cultural venues as well as space for arts education. This includes a new museum of visual culture, M+ Museum. The project will be developed in 2 phrases with construction scheduled to commence in 2013.[2]

Although hardware is yet to be completed, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has started its software development. Its first culture event is the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre at the future site of Xiqu Centre in 2012. “Mobile M+: Yau Ma Tei”, a contemporary art exhibition is the second program held by the Authority, which is the first in a series of pre-opening “nomadic” exhibition curated by M+ before the completion of the museum building in 2017.[3]

The early proposal of the project was once overturned in 2006 due to doubts on financing models and lack of planning. As the project returned to track in 2006, the government of HKSAR established the Consultative Committees to formulate a Recommendation Report to decide what facilities to offer and how they would be managed in the WKCD. In 2007, a three-month public consultation were being carried out again and the early stages were completed in December 2007 to decide what facilities to offer and how they would be managed.[4] The project was first proposed to attract tourists to Hong Kong, but the focus of discussion thereafter has turned to the benefits for the local residents, both intellectually and economically.

In early 2011, it was expected that the first phase of the project will open from 2015, and the second phase from 2026.[5]

Introduction[edit]

Location[edit]

The wedge-shaped development site is 40 hectares in area, lies within the Yau Tsim Mong District and is bounded by Canton Road in the east, the Western Harbour Crossing entrance and Austin Road West in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the west and south. It can be seen here[6] on Google Map.

Development history[edit]

Origin[edit]

In 1996, the Hong Kong Tourism Board took a survey of tourists visiting Hong Kong. The survey suggested that many of the tourists thought Hong Kong was lacking in cultural opportunities. The Hong Kong Tourism Board made a suggestion to Legco in 1998, proposing that new venues for art exhibitions and other cultural events be established. In the Chief Executive's Policy Address of 1998, Tung Chee Hwa proposed the establishment of the West Kowloon Cultural District, hoping to develop Hong Kong as the hub for Culture and Art of Asia.

Design competition[edit]

An international design competition was organised in April 2001[7] to design the district and the ten-member judge panel selected the gigantic canopy design scheme submitted by Foster and Partners as the winner under eight aspects,[8] which included "skillful integration of complexes", "singularity of image" and "viability".Leslie E. Robertson Associates were structural engineers for the concept design. However, the design was scraped in 2005 due to intense public criticism.[9]

Invitation for proposal[edit]

On 5 September 2003, the government announced an Invitation For Proposals for the Development of the district.[10] While the government required provision of certain specified facilities, proponents were allowed considerable freedom in developing viable proposals—in the other words, the developers can sell residents and office space located in the lot for profit as they fulfill the government's requirements as outlined as follow:

Three theatres with at least 2,000, 800 and 400 seats respectively; A performance venue with at least 10,000 seats; A cluster of four museums at least 75,000 square metres in size; An art exhibition centre at least 10,000 square metres in size; A water amphitheatre; At least four piazzas; and A canopy covering at least 55% of the development area.[11]

Three proposals respectively submitted by Dynamic Star International Limited, Sunny Development Limited and World City Culture Park Limited were then consulted with the public from December 2004 to June 2005 in order to select the final proposal. Here are the shortlisted designs as presented during the six-month public consultation in 2005:

First public consultation[edit]

The Executive Summary of the consultation report[13] showed the Single-packaged development approach, the canopy, the government supervision and the concept of the project most concerned and discussed in the open questions on the consultation form. The report noted there was a strong voice against the Single-packaged development approach and there was a fear that the WKCD project could evolve into an ordinary property development project. Over half of the written submissions were against the canopy.

As the government renewed conditions for the development, the shortlisted proponents failed to renew their proposals and Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan said the much-criticised giant canopy – centrepiece of the winning design by architect Lord Foster – would be scrapped with the entire to start all new by a review of the basic facilities to be offered.

Consultative committees[edit]

The government appointed members to the Consultative Committee on the Core Arts and Cultural Facilities (CACF) of WKCD on 6 April 2006 and the committee was scheduled to last until June 2007. It re-examined and re-confirmed the need for the CACF for the WKCD as defined in the Invitation for Proposals issued in September 2003.

Stage 1 Public Engagement Exercise[edit]

Stage 1 Public Engagement Exercise was conducted between 8 October 2009 to 7 January 2010, lasting for three months. At this stage, the WKCDA held public forums and focus group meetings in order to understand the views and needs of the stakeholders and the public. Around 66 public engagement events were held.[14]

Stage 2 Public Engagement Exercise[edit]

Following the Stage 1 of the PE exercise, Stage 2 PE exercise involves gaining feedbacks from the public and various shareholders on the Conceptual Plans prepared by three master planning teams. These planning teams have incorporated public views they learnt in Stage 1 into their conceptual plans.

The three conceptual plans were unveiled on 20 August 2010 by the WKCD Authority.

The Stage 2 Public Engagement exercise lasted for three months and run until 20 November 2010.[15]

Master plan selection[edit]

On 4 March 2011, Foster + Partners' plan, 'City Park had been selected as the master plan out of the three entries.[16][17][18] Ronald Arculli – the head of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority as well as the selection board – states that the master plan will be submitted to the Town Planning Board at the end of 2011; construction will start as soon as 4Q 2012. The first phase of WKCD will be able to finish by the end of 2015.[19] The plan was originally costed at HK$21.6 billion; in October 2011, the government revised its cost estimates upwards, saying it would cost over $29 billion.[20]

Stage 3 Public Engagement Exercise[edit]

The WKCD's Stage 3 Public Engagement Exercise starts on 30 September 2011 at the Thematic Exhibition Gallery in the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre. The focal point of the exhibition was a giant 1:250 physical model, showing how the future arts hub will look like, featuring major arts and cultural as well as other facilities. To enhance public understanding of the plans, there will also be a digital 3D model, photomontages and panels displaying key information and features. Pamphlets will also be distributed at the exhibition, allowing the public to leave their comments.[21] The plan – with public consultation until 30 October – goes to the Town Planning Board, which may give the go-ahead by the end of next year.

WKCD Authority[edit]

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Abbreviation WKCDA
Legal status Authority
Purpose Artistic
Membership Private
Chairman

CEO
Carrie Lam GBS, JP

Michael Lynch, CBE, AM
Budget HK$21.6 billion
Website http://www.wkcda.hk

The WKCD Authority was established under the West Kowloon District Authority Ordinance, Cap 601 to develop the West Kowloon Cultural district that came into action on 11 July 2008. The Authority is made up of the board, committees and executive board directors.

A Board of Directors was appointed to position in October, 2008. Its chairman was Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.[22] While government officials and experts were recruited to aid the authority operation temporarily, executives and managers were recruited to independently manage the operation.[23]

The authority has an executive team of seven. Its first Executive Director (Project Delivery), Angus Cheng Siu-chuen, a former executive at Hong Kong Disneyland, was appointed in June 2009 but resigned for 'personal reasons' less than two weeks after taking up the post. Project Director Augustine Ng Wah-keung then led the project on a provisional basis.[24][25]

On 24 March 2010, Graham Sheffield, formerly artistic director of London's Barbican Centre, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the authority on a three-year, HK$3.5 million-a-year contract.[5][26][27] However on 7 January 2011, he too suddenly resigned for "health reasons", just five months after arriving in the job, and was not available to talk to the media. A recruitment exercise to replace Sheffield as chief executive was expected to be launched quickly.[28][29]

The impact of the two top-level resignations worried art critics and a member of the Legislative Council's home affairs panel, Tanya Chan, who feared that candidates for the job could be deterred by the apparent problems with the project, which could be delayed by a year, to 2020.[5]

On 27 May 2011, Michael Lynch, the former Chief Executive of the London’s Southbank Centre, was appointed as CEO of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority by Hong Kong's chief secretary Henry Tang.[30]

Venues, museums and layout[edit]

There are two components of the new development, which are the M+ Museum, and the Performing Arts facilities.

M+ Museum[edit]

The M+ Museum will focus on four elements – design, popular culture, moving images and visual art.

In June 2010 it was announced that the executive director of the museum will be Lars Nittve. Nittve was the founder director of the Tate Modern in London. He took up his new post in January 2011 for a three-year term. Early in his tenure he promises to liaise with local arts stakeholders to overcome his admitted unfamiliarity with the Hong Kong arts scene.[31]

In July 2012, Uli Sigg announced a donation of his 1,463-work collection of contemporary Chinese art, valued at $163 million, which is planned to serve as the centerpiece of the M+'s new collection when it opens in 2017.[32] The museum bought 47 other works for $23 million.[33]

In 2013, the Pritzker Prize-winning architectural team Herzog & de Meuron was chosen to design a $642 million museum, beating out competitors who included Renzo Piano and Toyo Ito. The horizontal section of the T-shaped building will offer 183,000 square feet of exhibition space, while the vertical bar, devoted to offices, storage and education, is to have an LED lighting system that can showcase artwork.[34]

Performing Arts[edit]

There are also other Performing Arts Venues including the Xiqu Centre (main theatre and Tea House), a Freespace with an outdoor stage, a Lyric Theatre, a Centre for Contemporary Performance, Medium Theatre I, a Music Centre with a Concert and Recital Hall, a Musical Theatre, a Mega Performance Venue and an Exhibition Centre. A host of ancillary facilities include the Resident Company Centre, other creative learning facilities and a number of Arts Pavilions for visual arts exhibitions can also be found within the district. The district will be developed in 2 phrases with the first scheduled to commence in 2013.[35]

Current usage[edit]

West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade[edit]

Part of the site is used as a temporary promenade (West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade) managed by Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which can be accessed immediately to the east of Western Harbour Crossing toll booths, or via a pedestrian entrance close to the bus station to the west of the toll booths. Bicycles are available for hire, intended for riding along a short waterfront cycle track, which will be removed when the site is developed.

West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre[edit]

West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre (2012)

On 18–24 January 2012, the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre was held at the junction of Canton Road and Austin Road West (the future site of the Xiqu Centre). It was the first cultural event organized by WKCDA to mark the launch of the design and construction stage of the district. The event was a combination of traditional Cantonese opera, contemporary visual art installations and film shows in collaboration with the Chinese Artist Association of Hong Kong and various renowned visual artists, attracted around 12,000 participants in 7 days.

WKCDA plans to make the Bamboo Theatre an annual event, extending the period to three weeks in 2013 to include other forms of performing arts including contemporary Chinese music and dance performances.

Freespace Fest[edit]

Freespace Fest is a two-day contemporary music and performing arts festival held on 15–16 December 2012 at Freespace, the future performance venue situated inside the West Kowloon Cultural District Park for live music and cross-boundary performances opening in 2015/16. Freespace Fest will include contemporary music programmes, street performances and other experimental performing arts events.

Programmes and events[edit]

On 27 August 2012, the Authority announced a handful of events to “bring life and people to the district” before a tree nursery and the Park construction begin at the headland next year.[36]

Event Date Event Name Venue Organizer
01/11/2012 - 04/11/2012 Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade Hong Kong Tourism Board
01/12/2012 - 02/12/2012 Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade Clockenflap
15/12/2013 - 16/12/2013 Freespace Fest West Kowloon Cultural District (Park) WKCDA
21/01/2013 - 11/02/2013 Song Dong: 36 Calendars TBC WKCDA and Asia Art Archive
17/01/2014 - 09/02/2014 West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre Junction of Canton Road and Austin Road West (Xiqu Centre) WKCDA
23/03/2013 - 02/06/2013 Mobile M+: INFLATION! West Kowloon Cultural District WKCDA

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr07-08/chinese/fc/pwsc/papers/p08-31c.pdf
  2. ^ "WKCDA Stage 2 Public Engagement Exercise- West Kowloon Cultural District Video". 
  3. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr11-12/english/panels/wkcd/reports/wkcdcb2-2605-e.pdf
  4. ^ 西九文化區公眾參與活動[dead link]
  5. ^ a b c Sudden exit of arts hub chief may delay project, SCMP, Vivienne Chow, 8 Jan 2011
  6. ^ 油尖旺區 (1 January 1970). "油尖旺區 – Google 地圖". Maps.google.com.hk. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Invitation For Proposals Development of West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong[dead link]
  8. ^ WKR Concept Plan Competition[dead link]
  9. ^ http://blogs.wsj.com/hong-kong/2011/03/04/norman-foster-to-design-kowloon-cultural-district/
  10. ^ Invitation For Proposals Development of West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong[dead link]
  11. ^ Invitation For Proposals Development of West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong[dead link]
  12. ^ http://www.dynamicstarinternational.com/
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr11-12/english/panels/wkcd/papers/wkcd1129cb2-385-4-e.pdf
  15. ^ Conceptual Plan Options Unveiled as the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Launches Stage 2 Public Engagement Exercise www.wkcda.hk 20 August 2010
  16. ^ "Foster + Partners". Fosterandpartners.com. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "西九方案選用「城市中的公園」 – 新浪網 – 新聞". News.sina.com.hk. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  18. ^ "西 九 管 理 局 選 用 Norman Foster 「 城 市 中 的 公 園 」 設 計 方 案". Rthk.org.hk. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "夏佳理料西九圖則最快年底提交 – 新浪網 – 新聞". News.sina.com.hk. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Benitez, Mary Ann (6 October 2011). "Culture bill likely to rocket". The Standard. "The West Kowloon cultural district is set to be the SAR's downtown pioneer green area, but it could cost taxpayers at least HK$8 billion more than expected before it finally becomes a reality."
  21. ^ Stage 3 Public Engagement Exercise starts on 30 September WKCDA. 23 September 2011.
  22. ^ [2][dead link]
  23. ^ [3][dead link]
  24. ^ Angus Cheng resigns from cultural post[dead link] HK Govt press release, 17 June 2009
  25. ^ West Kowloon authority director quits RTHK, 17 June 2009
  26. ^ "West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Appoints Chief Executive Officer". West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010. [dead link]
  27. ^ "Graham Sheffield named WKCD CEO". Information Services Department of Hong Kong. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010. [dead link]
  28. ^ Fresh culture shock as West Kowloon CEO quits, The Standard, Natalie Wong, Friday, 7 January 2011
  29. ^ [Public Eye: Come clean about why cultural head quit], SCMP Michael Chugani, 12 January 2011
  30. ^ Michael Lynch Appointed WKCDA Chief Executive Officer WKCDA. 27 May 2011.
  31. ^ Tate supremo for modern art flagship, RTHK News, 24 June 2010
  32. ^ "Huge China art gift boosts Hong Kong culture district". Agence France-Presse. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  33. ^ Javier Pes (May 14, 2014), The man making M+ add up to somewhere special The Art Newspaper.
  34. ^ Patricia Cohen (July 4, 2013), Design Is Chosen for Hong Kong Museum New York Times.
  35. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr11-12/english/panels/wkcd/papers/wkcd0627cb2-2369-4-e.pdf
  36. ^ http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/features/52825/show-me-west-kowloon.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°18′18″N 114°09′44″E / 22.3051°N 114.1621°E / 22.3051; 114.1621