Foster + Partners’ masterplan for West Kowloon Cultural District, on a reclaimed harbour-front site, has just been launched in Hong Kong.
At the heart of their proposal, named ‘City Park’ is a 23-hectare park and green avenue which will provide a landscaped setting for a series of spectacular new cultural buildings.
Among the whopping seventeen new cultural venues are a Great Opera House; M+ ( a pioneering museum of modern art); concert halls; and a 15,000-seat arena with an Expo Centre below.
Arts educational facilities, apartments, offices, shops and transport links are to be fully integrated, and two kilometres of harbour-front promenade will give the people of Hong Kong their first chance to look back at the city’s iconic skyline.
A social focus will be created along a new central avenue, extending from Canton Road in the east to the Harbour Tunnel mouth in the west, along which a variety of cultural and commercial activities will be integrated.
Foster + Partners brings its understanding of urban design and knowledge of Hong Kong – gained from thirty-one years’ experience in the city – to create a vibrant new cultural quarter with public spaces and buildings where public and private realms converge, social and physical boundaries are dissolved, and different groups can meet.
West Kowloon’s familiar street pattern will extend into ‘City Park’ so that it becomes a natural extension of the local community.
This relationship is reflected in a rich mixture of colonnades, alleyways, lanes and tree-lined promenades – streetscapes that recall the bustle of Lan Kwai Fong and thoroughfares such as Shanghai Street in Kowloon.
Though the district will attract visitors for its imaginative cultural programme, equally important are the 30,000 square metres of arts education facilities that will encourage home-grown artistic talent and benefit the people of Hong Kong.
City Park will also have serious green credentials, achieving a carbon-neutral rating with a synergistic system of high-efficiency and low-consumption infrastructure. The low-energy design includes district cooling/heating, grey water recycling, energy recovery systems for sewage, recycling, a waste-to-energy scheme and the generation of local, low-carbon electricity. There is also provision for solar and wind energy generation.
Lord Foster, Founder and Chairman of Foster + Partners said:
“Hong Kong is a great city and this project captures what is important about its DNA: the civic spaces, the squares, the parks, the greenery, the avenues and the small side streets. At ‘City Park’ we have created a world class setting for a new cultural city for everyone.”