Continuing with our coverage of the West Kowloon Arts District, here’s Foster+Partners’ proposal entitled City Park. The proposal is based around a 23-hectare Great Park which will hold a sampling of cultural buildings of varying scales. From the large Arena, Opera House and Exhibition Center to the smaller teahouses and small temples scattered throughout the landscape, the park will be a welcoming entity programmed to provide for the public. Lord Foster, Founder and Chairman, said, “Hong Kong is a great city and this project captures what is important about its DNA: the civic spaces, the squares, the parks, the greenery, the avenues and the small side streets. At ‘City Park’ we have created a world class setting for a new cultural city for everyone.” More images and more about the master plan after the break.
The proposal attempts to organize a “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.” Although the master plan will present new ideas on city organization, the familiar street pattern found in West Kowloon will extend into ‘City Park’ so that it becomes a natural extension of the local community.
The park’s sculpted terrain will link cultural buildings by way of outdoor terraces and promenades. The park will be lined with a green wall that contains hotels, restaurants, conference facilities and the showcase energy center that serves the whole site. One of the largest buildings in the park is the combined Arena + Expo Center. These two functions will be fused together into one compact form with a large-scale performance venue on the upper levels, and a below grade exhibition area. By combining the two programs into one entity, the building reduces the infrastructure required for access and services for each. While the Expo Center will be full of activity during the daytime, the Arena will host events at night, thus creating a lively 24-hour shopping and entertainment center. A series of ‘green rooms’ step down from the cultural venues along the site edge, and extend towards Kowloon Park. Each room has a distinct identity, with the level change offering potential for terraced gardens, stepped plazas and integrated services and kiosks.
A main feature of the plan is The Avenue – a wide boulevard-like pedestrian street that runs east/west from the Great Opera House at the edge of the Great Park, to Black Box Tower and Canton Road Plaza Gateway. The Avenue unlocks the whole district, connecting all the different elements together, and is characterised by a dynamic mix of major cultural venues, along with shops, noodle bars, private galleries, artists’ studios, workshops and residential apartments.
Adjacent to the Great Opera House, a mixed-program development houses an art school on the upper levels, with a music academy on the lower levels and theater below grade. For the main concert hall, a dramatic public terrace steps up from the waterfront providing great views of the Hong Kong skyline. The plan is designed to allow City Park to 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.
Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners explained, “City Park belongs to the people of Hong Kong. What we have done is taken our years of experience here, listened to what people need and created a setting for a new world class cultural district that expresses the hopes and aspirations of the city. It will be the most extraordinary international destination – a new landmark on the world’s cultural map.” We’ll be sharing the third proposal by Rocco Design Architects Limited this week, and be sure to view OMA’s proposal that we featured earlier this week. Images and information from the architects. As noted, renderings produced by dbox and Methanoia.