Press release

20 August 2010

Proposals launched for Foster + Partners City Park at West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

Foster + Partners masterplan for West Kowloon Cultural District, on a reclaimed harbour-front site, has been launched in Hong Kong. City Park will capture and recreate the unique character, the DNA, that makes Hong Kong such a great city. At its heart, a 23-hectare great park and a green avenue will provide a landscaped setting for a series of spectacular new cultural buildings the jewels in Hong Kongs architectural crown. These new buildings will be approachable and welcoming places for both high culture and popular enjoyment.

The seventeen new cultural venues include a Great Opera House; M+ (a pioneering museum of modern art); concert halls; and a 15,000-seat Arena with an Expo Centre below. Arts educational facilities, apartments, offices, shops and transport links are to be fully integrated, and 2 kilometres of harbour-front promenade will give the people of Hong Kong their first chance to look back at the citys iconic skyline. A social focus is created along a new central avenue, extending from Canton Road in the east to the Harbour Tunnel mouth in the west, along which a variety of cultural and commercial activities are integrated.

Foster + Partners brings its understanding of urban design and knowledge of Hong Kong gained from thirty-one years experience in the city to create a vibrant new cultural quarter with public spaces and buildings where public and private realms converge, social and physical boundaries are dissolved, and different groups can meet. West Kowloons familiar street pattern will extend into City Park so that it becomes a natural extension of the local community. This relationship is reflected in a rich mixture of colonnades, alleyways, lanes and tree-lined promenades streetscapes that recall the bustle of Lan Kwai Fong and thoroughfares such as Shanghai Street in Kowloon.

Though the district will attract visitors for its imaginative cultural programme, equally important are the 30,000 square metres of arts education facilities that will encourage home-grown artistic talent and benefit the people of Hong Kong.

The 19-hectare great park will have magnificent views of the harbour and Hong Kong Island, and be open and accessible to local people and visitors alike. Its sculpted terrain, with dense tree planting, will provide shade and shelter, bringing the Hong Kong countryside into the city. A series of outdoor terraces and promenades will link the cultural buildings to the waterfront with vistas to Hong Kong Island. The great park also incorporates areas for outdoor performances and exhibitions. The needs of pedestrians and cars are balanced by sinking the main vehicle route below ground level; and to further maximise parkland, the Expo Centre is embedded below the Arena, combining two functions in one compact form.

City Park will achieve a carbon-neutral rating with a synergistic system of high-efficiency and low-consumption infrastructure. The low-energy design includes district cooling/heating, grey water recycling, energy recovery systems for sewage, recycling, a waste-to-energy scheme and the generation of local, low-carbon electricity. There is also provision for solar and wind energy generation.