New designs unveiled for controversial Hong Kong Palace Museum

Our design concept is founded on the understanding of traditional Chinese visual culture characteristics and takes inspiration from the spatial progression in traditional public buildings
– Rocco Yim

The public consultation process for the proposed Hong Kong Palace Museum has been extended and new designs of the building released, as backers of the project strive to win support for the controversial scheme.

A 10,000sq m (107,600sq ft) site on Hong Kong’s western harbour front has been earmarked to house the museum, which would display artefacts on long-term loan from Beijing’s famous Palace Museum under the terms of a special deal between that museum and Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA).

If given the green light, Hong Kong Palace Museum will be located adjacent to the Art Park and West Kowloon’s planned complex of theatres, performance spaces, museums and public open space.

The other leisure facilities in the district have been designed by architects including Herzog and de Meuron, Bing Thom Architects and UNStudio. However, unlike those projects, the new museum has been developed in secrecy and the design team, led by Rocco Design Architects, were commissioned but without an open competition process.

According to the WKCDA, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Beijing Palace Museum regarding the new outpost “had to be [negotiated] on a confidential basis.”

Following intense criticism about a lack of transparency, the authority launched a public consultation process in January 2017. This has now been extended to “allow more time for the general public and the stakeholders to offer their views on the project.”

An exhibition taking place at the City Gallery until 8 March is showcasing Rocco Design’s spatial concepts and internal layout for the building, revealing facilities such as feature exhibition galleries, activity rooms, a lecture theatre, a souvenir shop and a restaurant.

Explaining his vision, the studio’s principal Rocco Yim said: “Our design concept is founded on the understanding of traditional Chinese visual culture characteristics and takes inspiration from the spatial progression in traditional public buildings. The proposed internal layout of the museum’s building is a reflection of the resulting spatial configuration.

“The creation of the Hong Kong Palace Museum is an exciting challenge and an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an architect. Though our team has faced a very tight schedule, we have been listening to voices of all parties regarding this project.

“We hope the expanded contents of the exhibition will help facilitate the public consultation process and inspire stakeholders and the public to share further comments with us and make this museum a place that the people of Hong Kong can take pride in.”

Beijing's Palace Museum is a Unesco World Heritage Site with a collection of more than 1.8 million artefacts, including paintings, ceramics, calligraphy, and antiquities belonging to the imperial collections. Due to limited space, only 0.6 per cent of this collection can be displayed to the public at any given time.

This is the first time the museum has agreed a deal to lend its cultural treasures. The WKCDA has said that the deal will allow the Hong Kong Palace Museum to define the autonomous territory as “the gateway to cultural exchange between the East and the West.”

The non-profit Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has donated HK$3.5bn (US$451m, €427m, £362m) to the museum project, and, if given the green light, it is scheduled to open to the public by 2022.

A development plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District, masterplanned by Foster + Partners, was approved in January 2013. The site, which is built on a piece of land reclaimed from the sea in the early 1990s, will house an opera house, a black box theatre, a large-scale theatre, a waterfront promenade and Herzog and de Meuron’s M+ Museum for visual culture, art, design and architecture.

Hong Kong  Hong Kong Palace Museum  Beijing Palace Museum  architecture  design  West Kowloon Cultural District 
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The public consultation process for the proposed Hong Kong Palace Museum has been extended and new designs of the building released, as backers of the project strive to win support for the controversial scheme. A 10,000sq m (107,600sq ft) site on Hong Kong’s western harbour front has been earmarked to house the museum, which would display artefacts on long-term loan from Beijing’s famous Palace Museum under the terms of a
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A 10,000sq m (107,600sq ft) site on Hong Kong’s western harbour front has been earmarked to house the museum / WKCDA
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