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Hunt begins for new Hong Kong museum design team

An international competition has been launched to design the new M+ Museum - the ‘largest and highest profile’ of the 17 cultural venues planned for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong 

The 60,000m² waterfront building, which will showcase ‘visual culture from the 20th and 21st century’, is being billed as a rival to New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The scheme will sit on the edge of a proposed 14-hectare park within Foster + Partners’ wider £1.7 billion masterplan for the site.   

We’d like to encourage architectural firms from the UK

Design teams will have to partner with a Hong Kong Institute of Architects-registered practice to enter the contest which will be judged by, among others, Pritzker Prize-winning Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, and former head of London’s Tate Modern and now M+ executive director Lars Nittve.

Nittve told the AJ: ‘We’d like to encourage architectural firms from the UK and world-wide to apply for the design competition for M+.

‘We want to find an inspired design team to work with us deliver for Hong Kong a world-class museum for the visual arts. M+ is an ambitious and unique project, and while it can be justly said that a building is not equivalent to a museum, the building is vital, the museums main tool. It will provide essential space for the arts community and public to meet, debate, exhibit, learn, examine and be challenged.

He added: ‘M+ will be a leader in the arts globally, the Tate Modern of Hong Kong. The building needs to represent these commitments’

The deadline for expressions of entry is Monday 15 October 2012 following which four to six architects will be invited to a design competition stage. The project is set to complete in 2017.

Meanwhile the winner of the first cultural building within the new district, the Xiqu centre which will house a pair of theatres – looks set to be announced in November.

In July, Foster + Partners was named on an impressive five-strong shortlist for the scheme alongside Dutch stars Mecanoo, Safdie Architects, Vancouver’s Bing Thom Architects and Toronto’s Diamond and Schmitt.

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