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Foster, Peter Cook, Grimshaw and Wilkinson Eyre among West Kowloon finalists

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A gaggle of British practices have been named on the seven-strong shortlist in the contest to design Hong Kong’s first art-themed park

Foster + Partners, Peter Cook’s practice CRAB and Grimshaw are listed among the team members of the finalists vying for the 14 ha landscape-led project within the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Wilkinson Eyre and Grant Associates, the designers behind this year’s World Archiecture Festival overall victor - the Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore - are also battling it out to land the waterfront project.

The competition to create a ‘new green open space in the heart of the city’ is just one of a series of contests launched by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority as it pieces together its desgin team for the ‘arts and culture destination’ (see AJ 19.09.2012).

The shortlist in full:

  • Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau (UK) and VOGT Landscape
  • Dennis Lau & Ng Chun Man with Grimshaw (UK), West 8 and ACLA
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (US) with Olin and Urbanus
  • Grant Associates (UK) with Wilkinson Eyre (UK) and WSP
  • Gustafson Porter (UK) / Michel Desvigne Paysagiste (France) / Foster + Partners (UK)
  • Hargreaves Associates (US/UK) with Ennead Architects (US)
  • James Corner Field Operations (US)

According to the district authority, 22 teams from around the world expressed interest in being considered for the project, following an open call for Expression of Interest launched in July 2012. The teams were shortlisted by the Development Committee on recommendation from a Working Group of Park Development.

Michael Lynch, chief executive officer of the distirct authority said: ‘The park in the West Kowloon Cultural District will be an arts destination in its own right providing a vital flexible open space for the visual and performing arts.

‘Opening in phases beginning from 2014/15, the park aspires to be the most dynamic and inspiring public space in Hong Kong with arts and culture at its core.’

Arts park Factbox

Freespace: A prime venue for contemporary music of all scales and genres that is integrated into the landscaping of the park. Spanning 7000m², Freespace will include:

The Freespace Theatre, a flexible space that is intended for the presentation of music, interdisciplinary performances and multimedia presentations closely related to music for audiences from 450 to 900 people, with an online ‘digital venue’ that will complement the physical venue as an independent platform for all forms of digital and new media art projects.

The Music Box, integrated with a bar and a café and intended for the presentation of mainly local live music to an audience of 150 to 300.

The Outdoor Stage, designed for daily and free music events for 200. The seating of the Outdoor Stage will be integrated into landscaped slopes of the park.

The Lawn: Leisure grass-covered area capable of accommodating 6,000 to 10,000 people during events. 

Arts Pavilions: These spaces will function as small scale exhibition and event spaces for the visual arts with a combined area of 100m2.

Sculptures and Installations: Space will be specifically designed throughout the park for art installations and sculptures. The chosen design team will collaborate with artists from the early stages of the design in order to fully integrate permanent large-scale contemporary art into the design of the park. There will also be temporary exhibitions. The selection of artists will be made by M+, Hong Kong’s future museum for visual culture in West Kowloon Cultural District, who will be responsible for the curatorial oversight of all visual art in the park.

The seven shortlisted design teams will be asked submit detailed technical proposals to the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority at the end of this year.

Their detailed entries will be judged by an assessment panel comprising Andrew Lam Siu-lo, Leslie Chen, Kai-Yin Lo, David Lung Ping-yee, Elvin Wong Chi-chung, Michael Lynch, Mw Chan, Lars Nittve and Louis Yu.

A winning design team is set to be appointed by early 2013.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The shortlist demonstrates the high regard for British Design internationally. While West Kowloon Cultural park is a high profile project, it underlines that fact that there are significant opportunities for UK architectural practices in China. Amazingly last year only 4% of fees of UK practices was earned from international clients and projects - this must surely increase in the future.

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