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Foster + Partners wins Hong Kong cultural district battle

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Norman Foster has beaten OMA to win the right to design Hong Kong’s new £1.7 billion West Kowloon cultural hub.

Hong Kong’s No. 2 official Henry Tang said today that the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority board had endorsed Foster + Partners’ ‘City Park’ proposal.

The victory effectively marks a long-awaited return for Foster to the 40-hectare waterfront site following a five year absence. The practice had designed a previous masterplan for the site, however that scheme was ditched in 2006 when the local authorities decided to reappraise the scheme on Victoria Harbour.

Norman Foster said: ‘This is fantastic news. I have been travelling to Hong Kong for more than 32 years, since the Hongkong Bank first brought us here. This project offers an extraordinary opportunity – it is unprecedented in its scale, scope and vision.City Park will be the catalyst to transform the city locally and regionally, as well as on the world stage. Our design is rooted in Hong Kong’s urban DNA, the distinctive character that makes it such a dynamic city. There really is no other project like it!’

Foster’s plan envisions transforming the reclaimed site for the cultural hub on Kowloon peninsula into a lush waterfront park that contains an opera house,

The third finalist in the contest was local company Rocco Design.

Previous story (AJ 23.08.10)

Foster + Partners battles OMA for Hong Kong cultural district

Foster + Partners and OMA have revealed opposing schemes for a £1.8 billion arts precinct in Hong Kong

The two practices are competing local company Rocco Design to transform the 40-hectare West Kowloon waterfront (see AJ 20.07.09), a job worth £4 million in fees for the winner.

Fosters’ proposal features an opera house, modern art museum, 23-hectare park, a 2km harbour-front promenade and 300,000m² of education facilities.

Norman Foster 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.’

Dutch-practice OMA’s bid includes an art museum, market, theatre, amphitheatre and a park. The new facilities are arranged in three ‘urban villages’ set within the park.

Rem Koolhaas of OMA said: ‘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.’

Fosters designed a previous masterplan for the site, however that scheme was ditched in 2006 when the local authorities decided to reappraise the scheme on Victoria Harbour.

The three latest proposals will be on display in Hong Kong until December.

Visit the West Kowloon Cultural District website.

Foster + Partners' West Kowloon Cultural District scheme

Foster + Partners’ West Kowloon Cultural District scheme

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