University aims for completion of $550m digital media centre by 2008

Linda Yeung

A new landmark in Kowloon - the Creative Media Centre of City University - could be built by 2008 if everything goes according to plan.

CityU announced yesterday it would shortly submit its proposal to the Town Planning Board for a nine-storey 'crystalline' structure designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind, the architectural firm that did the master planning for the New York World Trade Centre ground zero redevelopment plan.

The $550 million project will house academic facilities spread over 26,100 square metres, easing the space shortage at CityU, and public facilities such as an exhibition hall, virtual reality centre, theatre and restaurants.

While the government is committed to footing the bill for the academic facilities, the university is seeking $200 million of private funding to support the construction of much of the public facilities at the Cornwall Street site.

CityU president Chang Hsin-kang said it would make Hong Kong a dominant player in creative media education in the region.

It would also nourish much-needed talent for the creative industry, which involves the making of films, documentaries, animation, interactive media or electronic games using digital technology.


'Hopefully the centre will be completed by 2008,' Mr Chang said.

'It will be a testing ground for the creative and digital production companies that are forming a new engine of growth in Hong Kong's knowledge-based economy.'

The creative industry accounted for more than 90,000 jobs, or 4.5 per cent of employment in the local service sector, he said.

CityU has reached a tripartite agreement with the Beijing Film Academy and the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television to facilitate exchanges and collaborations on academic projects.


CityU council chairman Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, whose criticisms earlier had caused some modifications to the plan, said there was great demand for talent in the field and many students were offered jobs before they graduated.

Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen expressed support for the centre in a video shot by CityU and released at a media conference yesterday.


He pledged that the government was committed to the development of digital media.

James Moy, the dean of CityU's School of Creative Media, expects the student intake for the school to be doubled when the new centre is built.

'It will also bring in a lot of technology unmatched in the region,' Professor Moy said.