Last week, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority unveiled OMA’s conceptual masterplan for a major new arts district in Hong Kong. Under OMA’s plan – one of three competing proposals – the 40 hectare waterfront site facing Victoria Harbour would become an authentic environment of three urban villages embedded in a new public park, Hong Kong’s largest.
OMA founding partner Rem Koolhaas commented: “Using the village – a typology every citizen of Hong Kong is familiar with – as the model for our plan allows us to absorb the massive scale of WKCD’s ambition into manageable portions and forge deep connections with Kowloon, whose vital urban energy will be the lifeblood of WKCD.”
In 2009, OMA established a new office in Hong Kong to study local conditions and consult with a wide range of stakeholders and experts in the fields of culture and finance. Out of this research, we generated a cultural masterplan, working in tandem with architecture, for establishing a creative milieu that can fully ‘inhabit’ WKCD’s plethora of new arts facilities and make the neighbourhood come alive.
OMA’s three villages each have a strong emphasis on vibrant street life and cultural production where all aspects of the creative process – from education to rehearsal to production to performance – are nurtured and made visible.
Art in the east
One of the key elements of OMA’s proposal for WKCD is M+, an experimental new muséum interpreted as a barcode of overlapping bands featuring visual art, film, design and popular culture. Embedded in M+ is an Art Factory, where education, artist studios, a hotel and shops intersect and interact with the museum itself. Beneath M+, the Exhibition Centre is a venue for auctions and conventions, a further intermingling of culture and commerce. M+ links to Kowloon Park and to the surrounding neighbourhood with pedestrian bridges – one of them an extension of the park, one an extension of the museum itself – into Jordan and to Temple Street, and across Canton Road to an outpost of the museum in Victoria Towers.
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