West Kowloon Cultural District

Just get on with it, arts hub team told

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 December, 2011, 12:00am

Get on with it - that was one of the main messages from people who responded to the third and last round of public consultation on the West Kowloon Cultural District proposals.

They also showed more interest in the 'software' - the artistic direction and programming for the arts hub - than in the buildings, or 'hardware', said the chairman of the consultation panel, Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung.

'Their view is that we should implement the project as soon as possible. People are going to be fed up if there is yet another round of consultation,' Cheung said. 'We should start discussing the cultural software now that the hardware development is about to start.'

He said a quarter of the 1,172 submissions received during the month-long exercise - the highest proportion - related to the future operational issues of the arts hub. These respondents were concerned with the artistic direction, programming and financing of the hub and called for more collaboration with professionals to design a practical cultural policy.

Only about 17 per cent of the feedback touched on the overall layout. Most of the comments were in support of the development plan for the 42-hectare site, devised by British architect Norman Foster, which features a large park with more than a dozen arts venues and museums. The respondents also welcomed the addition of floating arts platforms and piers, elements of rival designs by Rocco Yim Sen-kee and Rem Koolhaas.

Three per cent of the submissions called for early implementation of the project, which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade. There is also a strong preference for small businesses rather than megastores in the commercial areas.

The design blueprint for the cultural district would be submitted to the Town Planning Board by the end of the month after the design team refined it in light of the submissions, said Dr Chan Man-wai, project delivery director of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

Changes will include improving the north-south connection on the site by adding more roads, along with more open space to improve air flow.

Competitions will soon be arranged for the design of several buildings including the Cantonese opera centre and contemporary arts museum, M+.

While more changes were suggested in the submissions - such as a theme for the park, minimising the residential area and moving the buildings further away from each other - Cheung said the project would have to start because 'people are suffering from consultation fatigue'.


How much of the overall space can be devoted to residential projects. The public has suggested minimising the housing aspect