Herzog & de Meuron's M+ Museum of visual culture has topped out in Hong Kong ahead of its scheduled opening in 2020. Focusing on 20th and 21st century art, design, architecture and moving image, M+ will be the centerpiece of the West Kowloon Cultural District, and a key venue in creating interdisciplinary exchange between the visual arts and the performing arts in Asia.
Sited on the edge of a reclaimed 14-hectare park in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, M+ was first revealed in 2013. In order to create a “radical space” for installations and performances, Herzog & de Meuron designed the museum to connect directly to the Airport Express via an underground tunnel in an effort to challenge artists and curators with an unprecedented exhibition space. The building has been designed in partnership with Hong Kong-based TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & partners.
The spaces range from the conventional white cube, reconfigurable spaces, screening rooms and multipurpose facilities to so-called third spaces and even an “Industrial Space". Combined with an L-shaped Black Box, a reconfigurable Studio Space, direct access to the loading dock as well as a large part of the storage area, a sunken forum and (exhibition) topography have been created.
Duncan Pescod, Chief Executive Officer of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said that, "the topping out of the M+ building is an important step towards the full realization of West Kowloon. We are extremely pleased to see Herzog & de Meuron’s design taking shape as a landmark along the harbor front, set against the backdrop of skyscrapers. We look forward to the delivery of the museum for audiences in Hong Kong to enjoy and appreciate."
As Herzog & de Meuron have stated, the precise and urban shape reiterates the iconic character of Kowloon’s skyline on one hand, yet on the other hand, this convention is subverted by the transmitted message of the art, visible from afar, which will consequently make M+ a site of constant renewal, rather than being locked into a predefined form. Above all, M+ is a public forum, a built platform for the exchange, encounter and activity of people and art.