OMA reveals competition proposal for new cultural district in Hong Kong
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority unveiled today 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.”
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.
One of the key elements of OMA’s proposal for WKCD is M+, an experimental new museum 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.
The Middle Village is conceived as a continuation of Kowloon's street markets, with small-scale entertainment, local shops, restaurants, street markets, artist studios, production spaces, and galleries. The Middle Village is flanked by a Xiqu Theatre (and a Xiqu School) for Cantonese performance and, to the east, a premiere movie theatre celebrating Hong Kong’s film industry.
OMA’s conceptual plan will be discussed in a series of public forums in the coming three months, in which OMA is represented by Rem Koolhaas, David Gianotten and Betty Ng. The project is also on display in roving exhibitions across Hong Kong from 20 August until 20 November and at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice from 29 August until 21 November.