OMA’s Arts District Master Plan Unveiled

This past week, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority of Hong Kong unveiled OMA’s conceptual master plan for a new arts district (Koolhaas’ plan is one of three competing proposals). Divided into three villages, the 40 hectacre waterfront site places strong emphasis on the quality of the street life and the “cultural production where all aspects of the creative process are nurtured and made visible.”  The master plan has been years in the making, as Koolhaas established an office in Hong Kong to better understand the culture and context, as well as collaborate with financial and culture experts to design a feasible plan to positively affect the communities involved. Rem Koolhaas commented, “Using the village – a typology every citizen of Hong Kong is familiar with – as the model for our plan allows us to absorb the massive scale of WKCD’s ambition into manageable portions and forge deep connections with Kowloon, whose vital urban energy will be the lifeblood of WKCD.”

Images and more information about the master plan after the break.

Over view of three villages ©

Koolhaas’ team has created a new kind of museum, entitled M+. This barcode building will feature overlapping bands that vary cultural and arts programs, such as visual art, film, design and popular culture. With an Art Factory intersecting the museum, and an Exhibition Center beneath it, the M+ will be a major connector in the plan, linking to Kowloon Park and to the surrounding neighborhood with pedestrian bridges.

M+ from road © OMA

The traditional Kowloon street market life will continue through the Middle Village with small-scale entertainment, local shops, restaurants, street markets, artist studios, production spaces, and galleries.

Theater Village Lobby © OMA

For the Theater Village, four performance spaces – the chamber music theater, street theater, grand theater and a concert hall – are interconnected via a continuous outdoor lobby that stretches the length of the village.

Mega Performance Venue © OMA

The Mega Performance Venue, an open-air amphitheater, sits 15,000 people for large scale entertainment ranging from pop concerts to New Year’s celebrations with views over Hong Kong Island as its natural backdrop.

Park © OMA

The villages are embedded in a single park that will be designed with forest gardens, orchards, ponds, meadows, and even a communal urban farm.

Waterfront promenade, Middle Village © OMA

OMA’s conceptual plan will be discussed in a series of public forums in the coming three months, in which OMA is represented by Rem Koolhaas, David Gianotten and Betty Ng. The project is also on display in across Hong Kong from until November 20, and at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice until November 21.


Video via Vimeo uploader OMA.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "OMA’s Arts District Master Plan Unveiled" 23 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • David Basulto

    Interesting concept for the curved theatre and the floating black box.

    • orlando

      the idea of the curved theatre comes from the cardiff bar opera house proyect, presented in 1994

  • kc

    nah…dont like it..oma needs to get off the bars and extrusions and do something more challenging..

    • A

      “challenging” . You didn’t get it I think. Architecture is not about “challenging”, it’s about solving problems. If you want some “challenging” stuff look at Ghery or Hadid; they produce “challenging” buldings which cost a lot and are not convenient, doesn’t improve life quality or doesn’t take a look at the social context and costs a lot of energy into maintenance or climatic aspects.

      • A

        if you want something truely challenging have a look at this :

      • thiago

        why zaha or gehry are challenging? because they are “harder” to build, are not boxes? why they are not convenient? are you sure they don’t improve life quality or doesn’t look at the social context?

  • Lucas

    Casa da Musica II?

    • Jonotol

      Looks like Rem’s running out of ideas for forms!

  • z

    its seems that the proposal from Rocco is much more appropriate for the site. and they are real HK-based architects.
    and btw, is it now, when the icon is dead, that Rem-Koolhaas-persona becomes an architectural icon???

  • ben

    Really nice video! congrats OMA! I’m curious how dense this proposal is and how they arrived to this conclusion. If you compare it to Elements which is around the corner, it appears to be low. Then there is Mong Kok which is probably one of the densest places in the world.

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  • kj

    some people need to lay off the buildings for a moment, this is first and foremost an urban planning proposal, who cares what the buildings look like

    value of land is very high in a dense city like hk, will be interesting to see if oma can get away with so much greenscape, anyone got a link to the other entries?

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  • d.teil

    Comparing the foster design with the oma design:

    1. foster’s one is much more romantic overall.
    2. oma has a much higher density and also it seems that the oma design has much more m2 in their design. is it?
    3. Why the oma renderings don’t not showing much more trees in their design as foster is doing? it looks more convenient with the trees . especially in HK where you have not much parks spaces and places at all.
    4. Foster has in their design a much better promenade along the harbour.
    5. Foster’s design has a better arrangement by the buildings comparing with the OMA design.
    6. Oma’s design looks like a “best of compilation” of their designs so far.
    7. Oma’s design looks more chaotic which Hk do not need at all.

    Means for me:

    Beside it looks much more dense by seeing the OMA design ( so who is right here by regarding the masses what the government of HK wish to have) i like more the FOSTER design, because it would be more comfortbable for the HK citizens.

    For all which were never in HK, you should know: there are millions of people everywhere, especially on the kowloon side , you rarely have spaces like a park with a lot of shady places.

    So as bigger you could have this kind of a park for everybody it would be nicer for the citizens of HK.

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