OMA: new cultural district in hong kong
OMA: new cultural district in hong kong OMA: new cultural district in hong kong
aug 20, 2010

OMA: new cultural district in hong kong

plans for new cultural district in hong kong by OMA theatre village from the west all images © OMA

the office for metropolitan architecture (OMA) has unveiled the firm’s conceptual masterplan for a major new arts district in hong kong. one of three competing proposals, the design of the 40 hectare waterfront site would incorporate three urban villages into an authentic environment embedded in a new public park, the largest green space in hong kong.

‘using the village – a typology every citizen of hong kong is familiar with – as the model for our plan allows up to absorb the massive scale of the west kowloon cultural district (WKCD)’s ambition into manageable portions and forge deep connections with kowloon, whose vital urban energy will be the lifeblood of WKCD.’ -rem koolhaas

model in context

divided into the east, middle, and west, the three villages all emphasis a vibrant street life. they each aim to nurture all aspects of the creative process by making them visible elements in the district.

the ‘east village’ features ‘M+’, an experimental new museum interpreted as a barcode of overlapping bands featuring visual art, film, design and popular culture. other facilities embedded in ‘M+’ is an ‘art factory’, where education, artist studios, a hotel and shops intersect and interact with the museum itself. beneath the museum, an exhibition centre is a venue for auctions and conventions. ‘M+’ links to kowloon park and the by a series of pedestrian bridges.

flanked by a xiqu theatre for cantonese performance and a premiere movie theatre celebrating hong kong’s film industry to the east, 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 focal point of the ‘west village’ is a network of four interconnected performance spaces under the common umbrella of the ‘universal theatre’. offering views over the harbour and waterfront, the collective network includes a chamber music theatre, street theatre, grand theatre and a concert hall. each venue is embedded in a single, continuous outdoor lobby stretching the length of the village.

transparency of ‘M+’ with kowloon in the back

OMA’s conceptual masterplan will be discussed in a series of public forums in the next three months. the project is also on display in exhibitions across hong kong as well as the international architecture biennale in venice from the 29th of august until the 21st of november.



OMA’s plan for hong kong’s west kowloon cultural districtvideo courtesy of OMA

  • sorry, I can’t feel any Hong Kong culture on the planing.I just can fell OMA’s style design.

    I am a Hong Kong person.

    jason says:
  • interesting project, and being a Hong Kong person myself, I like the fact the design tries to provide spaces for creating identity and arts appreciation, instead of just more ‘museums’…

    instead of promoting a ‘Hong Kong culture’, I think the masterplan leaves areas for culture to grow out of the standard ‘Red White Blue’ motif.

    and jason, why don’t you tell me what is Hong Kong culture.

    Another HK guy says:
  • Hong Kong culture, at least parts of it, is turning water front into another property investment opportunity

    Not sure if this is another one of those by just looking at two diagrammatic masterplan renderings..who goes into each of the villages? can the Ah Po selling fish balls at the street corner afford to be a part of this? who knows?

    The other HK person says:
  • I love the green space idea. HK needs quality green space. However, knowing how HK works… ended up with no green space, but a hugh shopping center and super tall expensive apartment which destroy the coast line of HK.

    One more HK guy says:
  • I agree with “the other HK person”. Honestly, does HK have a culture built around things other than money? Not that there is anything wrong with a city which embodies this. I just don’t see any potential for the growth of the type of culture that can be seen in…say…Beijing.

    girl who has been to HK says:
  • It looks like just another real estate project, lack of artistic sense at all. We all Hong Kongese know what Hong Kong is, it’s a developer’s-rule city, they just use a grand name “cultural area” in disguise, but in fact it’s just another game for the developers.

    100% Hong Kongese says:
  • Yup. I totally agree with “100%hkese” &”girl has been to hk”
    I don’t think this project can help hk’s art & culture. We just need a space for our study. (For an example: industrial building &old building )is a good place for use to create the hk the design by us. We don’t need any “famous designer or architect “to do for us.

    jason says:
  • I think there’s no problem with OMA…the main problems should be from the tender of HK GOV. ~~ otherwise these 3 company shouldn’t design these rubbish lol ~!

    B~ says:
  • um…”jason”, “Another HK guy”, “The other HK person “, “One more HK guy”, “100% Hong Kongese”,

    hey bloggers, i just wonder if any of you currently in Hong Kong? if so, you could definitely do something about the situation. and even you ain’t there, you still could.

    I love hongkong. I hate the rules of these mess-up HK/china gov’t’s game. But if the only way to change it is to be part of it, i would. let’s be part of the game.

    another 100% Hongkonger in New York says:
  • I like the design! i dont think it looks like the typical developer project otherwise there wouldnt be so much open space but everywhere commercial highrise.

    proud hongkongnese says:
  • i am now studying industrial design in australia
    did exchange in Paris
    traveled cities like rome , athens , berlin , london
    Hk is definitely having its own culture but different from the rest of the world
    (who will go to the outdoor theater ? extremely western thing , hker wants air-conditioning )
    HK is very unique (so called international city)
    it is a most tat it is just another.
    i just wonder if there is any job opportunity provided to Hk designers ,
    as we always know our background /education always tell us “white is good”
    seriously really want to participate in the project

    it is very difficult for hk based designers but still be optimistic ,we cant change the whole picture but we can change ourselves.

    hong konger in oz says:
  • Here are the proposal of this project.
    By the way. I like Rocco & OMA’s design proposal.

    jason says:
  • Hi everyone, I totally agree “Hk is definitely having its own culture” as ‘hong konger in oz’ said.

    I like OMA’s approach, it does allow a level of flexibility for the general public/ local communities can be participated in ‘creating WKCD’. His design is more like set up the basic framework to the place, but the peoples who use it to fill in the ‘content’.

    I also agree with ‘another 100% Hongkonger in New York’, if we want to change, then need to be part of it, I will at least fill in the online questionnaire, and see any opportunity to influence that when next time I am in Hong Kong.

    The problem is not OMA or another teams’ design, but big developers in HK and the planning system. See this book 地產霸權

    hong konger in London says:
  • at least there is some green.
    um.. cant always blame the developer since this is hong kong.
    i would love to lie on some green larger than that in victoria park n watch the developer’s sparkling highrise.
    lets talk abt public space before any ‘cultural’ events. imagine doing a outdoor hotpot there 3am n offer the patrolman some instant noodles

    just wonder how the grass can grow in a decent way

    aberdeen in glasgow says:
  • agree w/above, i’m also out of the city, but have filled in the questionnaire to try and do my bit…

    like ‘hong konger in London’ is saying, OMA’s proposal has a more optimistic view of setting up basic frameworks, where else the other two are, more conventional.

    i disagree with the idea that Hong Kong’s culture will only be defined by developers. Its true now, but maybe this project will turn that thought around?

    The residential+commercial aspects of OMA’s proposal is 18%, lower than the 25% required by the brief, so at least we can see what OMA has in mind

    Another HK guy says:
  • Hong Kong is an international city. when inhabitants flood the location. when hongkong people flood into these new properties, these dstricts. “hongkong” will come to life in these locations.
    take kowloon. or mongkok. take away the inhabitants. take away the shops with all the chinese billboards. what do u end up with? “hong kong”? just a thought.

    Ping. says:
  • Hi Ping, I think you exactly telling the key point here.

    A place is always defined by the ‘peoples’ & ‘activities’, more than the material aspects of it.

    As WKCD now still in the public consultation stage, which is better to keep it open for everyone to comment and voice their opinions, to inform what future ‘activities’ and ‘programs’ will be happened, before finalize how it should be ‘look like’.

    I hope to see how WKCD will change over the years after it officially open, as a continuous process rather than a static architecture or buildings. What individual & collective memory will be created from there. The 4 dimensions of it: Time.

    Perhaps my young son will be enjoying a Saturday afternoon there in 15-20 years later, and I will notice how the trees growth a bit more when every time I visit there…

    hong konger in London says:
  • ”…using the village – a typology every citizen of hong kong is familiar with…”

    Rem and company, is this the Hong Kong, formerly British colony, currently puppet state of the Chinese you are talking about…?

    Jimbo says:
  • To all the Hong Kong guys, people and ladies above: please give more hopes to the projects, actively go to comments on the 3 proposals in the consultation period and encourage your friends to go. I don’t really care about who will live in those housing block as one way or another, all these galleries, green space and museum need money to sustain. If there’s someone can afford them, so many other people like po po selling fishball, kids living in sham shui po can go to the FREE open space, museum and galleries. I think it is a good thing for all. As many of you mentioned HK is ruled by developers, it is true indeed. But can we (HK ppl) benefit more from the project? I think the answer is “YES”. Let’s give it a little bit of faith and it’ll always better be a “cultural district” than an empty plot of land for another 15 years.

    i love hk says:

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