On June 28 the building design team for M+ the museum for visual culture at the embryonic West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) in Hong Kong was revealed. Swiss company Herzog & de Meuron were selected by the jury to design the 60,000-square-meter venue, which they have envisioned as a cultural centre rather than a museum.
Selected ahead of a shortlist of architects SANAA, Renzo Piano, Toyo Ito, Snøhetta and Shigeru Ban, Herzog & de Meuron will work alongside UK firm TFP Farrells to deliver the M+ museum on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
A press release reveals that the design concentrates on the cavernous underground space provided by the Airport ExpressMTR line that runs beneath the site. This will be converted into a sunken exhibition area—the “Found Space”—to house large-scale installations and performance events. Above ground, the museum’s structure resembles an inverted T-girder, with a floating, horizontal podium of conventional exhibition galleries under a vertical tower of administrative and educational facilities that stretches the entire width of the building and plays an additional role as an outsized LED display screen for works of art. Jacques Herzog stated that, “For art to enter into the life of a city like Hong Kong it has to come from below, from its own foundations. Our M+ Project does exactly that, by literally emerging from the city’s underground.”
Herzog & de Meuron, founded in 1978, were the team behind the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing and London’s Tate Modern gallery.
M+ is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Planners hope the $642-million museum will become one of the world’s top modern and contemporary art destinations.