Museums should have free admission, and the design for the West Kowloon Cultural District should have oriental characteristics that reflect Hong Kong's 'Pearl of the East' moniker, the first public forum on the initiative heard yesterday. More than 200 people attended the forum at the Science Museum, held to hear opinions on the design of the 43-hectare cultural hub. The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority has appointed three planning teams - Foster + Partners, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Rocco Design Architects - to devise conceptual plans for the arts hub. Representatives of the teams were at the forum. A dramatic performer, surnamed Yeung, said it was important that admission to the hub should be free, and that the authority should strive to foster relationships between performers and the audience. Doris Tang, who described herself as an artist, asked for open space to provide a place for interaction between performers and the audience. A man named Lau said the design of the cultural district should stand out from other famous cultural districts by including oriental features. Some voiced concerns that too many commercial activities in the district would deter people interested in cultural performances from visiting it in the long run. Others worried that high-rises included in the project would not fit with the environment. In response, a member of the authority said there was a restriction on the height of buildings. Some West Kowloon residents complained about traffic congestion. The Legislative Council has given an up-front endowment of HK$21.6 billion to the project. About 10 people from the Literary Museum Initiative, which has been pressing for a literature museum, staged a protest as Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and members of the authority left the venue. They were angry that the list of stakeholder groups for the public engagement exercise did not include writers and literary critics, but did include an entertainment company from Macau. Consultation panel chairman Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung said the authority had already invited representatives from the group to attend focus group meetings, but refused to comment on the absence of literary groups on the list for the public consultation. The authority had prepared a questionnaire asking for opinions on the district's look, ambience, facilities and activities, accessibility and connectivity with other districts. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas met the public for the first time. Board member Ronald Arculli said two more public forums, one on Hong Kong Island and another in the New Territories, would be held on November 8 and December 6, respectively. The conceptual plan will be ready for public consultation by the middle of next year.