West Kowloon Cultural District

Seven teams in running to create arts hub park

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 3:31am

The arts hub authority has shortlisted seven international teams to design the city's second largest urban park.

In architect Norman Foster's conceptual design for the arts hub the park features a forest resembling Central Park in New York. The park will occupy 14 of the 23 hectares of open space in the art hub. This makes it slightly larger than Kowloon Park, which covers 13.47 hectares, but smaller than Victoria Park, at 18 hectares.

The seven were selected by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority from 22 design teams that had expressed an interest in designing the city's cultural park.

They final seven are Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau and VOGT Landscape; Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man with Grimshaw, West 8 and ACLA; Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Olin and Urbanus; Grant Associates/Wilkinson Eyre/ESP; Gustafson Porter/Michel Desvigne Paysagiste/Foster + Partners; Hargreaves Associates with Ennead Architects; and James Corner Field Operations.

Past projects of the teams include the athletes' village and parklands of the London Olympics, the Highline Park in New York - a railway heritage site that was turned into an open space for the public - the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in London and the waterfront in Seattle.

A member of the authority's assessment panel, Andrew Lam Siu-lo, said the teams would not be required to copy Foster's concept. "However, they should address the public expectations expressed in his plan. They have been longing for more green space."

The assessment panel, comprising nine judges from the fields of arts, architecture and the authority, will select the best team early next year.

Lam said the winning design should be able to highlight the park as a regional and international cultural landmark. It should also have sufficient experience to incorporate art installations and sculptures, designed by the artists recommended by the authority, into its plan.

According to the requirements set by the authority, the park should consist of various types of open space, including a free-space theatre for up to 900 people, a music box with a bar and a cafe accommodating up to 300, an outdoor stage for free music events for about 200 people, a large lawn that can accommodate up to 10,000 visitors during events, and arts pavilions for small exhibitions.

The art hub authority's CEO, Michael Lynch, said the park aspired to be the most dynamic and inspiring public space in the city, with arts and culture at its core. "It will be an arts destination in its own right providing a vital flexible open space for the visual and performing arts."

It is expected to open in phases from 2014 or 2015 onwards and be the first attraction in the hub for the public to enjoy.