Speech of the Honourable Henry Tang Ying-yen, Chairman of the Board

Distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

I'm very excited to join you today to unveil the three conceptual plan options for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The West Kowloon Cultural District is beginning to take shape, and the credit goes to our brilliant master planning teams -- Foster, Rocco, and OMA -- as well as the people of the Hong Kong arts and cultural stakeholders and the community of Hong Kong in general.

Your enthusiasm and invaluable input during Stage 1 of the Public Engagement Exercise helped spark the creative processes of these leading architectural teams.

Now displayed before us are three distinctive visions for this project. Each concept has been developed based on the creativity of our master planning teams as well as the dreams and aspirations of the future users of West Kowloon Cultural District and that would include our children, our family, our artists, our visitors and every single one of you.

Each conceptual plan presents a vision of how this District can be developed into a centrepiece for the city …

  • … showing off Hong Kong’s unique character
  • … integrating seamlessly with its surroundings
  • … making cultural connections beyond our boundaries
  • … and becoming a part of our social fabric.

We strongly encourage everyone to come, see for yourselves, and share your views on how the future of the arts and culture in Hong Kong should look like, how you feel about the layout of the area, and how the various components come together as a holistic one. But please keep in mind that this is not a competition! One of these overall concepts will emerge as the basis for development. At the same time, we may very well incorporate some bright ideas of the other two plans to form one "Master Plan". So your views, opinions and comments will influence the plan, and which specific features, would be selected.

The West Kowloon Cultural District will not spring up overnight -- nor should it! It will grow organically according to the development needs of our audience and our artistic community. We want to listen to your views about the District's pace of development as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, having been closely involved in the development of these plans, my advice is: do not trust your gut feeling, don't believe there is love at first sight. Keep coming and revisit the plans and you will always find something new, you will always find it fascinating, and you will always find that there are certain aspects you have missed on your first encounter. And indeed, when you go home, don't just rely on what you remember, and visit our website, because everything you see, every little detail is uploaded onto our website today. Then you’ll have a huge problem, because all the features are so interesting and so bright, you will find it difficult to choose.

Thank you for your participation in the public engagement exercise. We are closer than ever to achieving our mission of bringing arts to the people and people to the arts. We are creating a vision for West Kowloon, is a vision that is worth celebrating.

And now for all of those who speak both Chinese and English, I see a lot of impatient faces because I am standing between you and what you really want to see.

Thank you very much.

Speech of Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, Chairman of the Consultation Panel

Welcome to the launching ceremony today to witness the kick-off of the three-month Stage 2 Public Engagement (PE) exercise.

The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) belongs to the people of Hong Kong. Therefore, the Consultation Panel has started a three-stage Public Engagement exercise to seek public views on the planning for the district. In the first stage of the Public Engagement exercise, we received more than 7,000 written questionnaires and submissions from the public and stakeholders that reflect public expectations from the WKCD and their requirements for the Core Arts and Cultural Facilities. The three master planning teams appointed by the West Kowloon Cultural Authority had incorporated the community’s preferences when the prepared their conceptual plan options, so that a completely people-oriented WKCD can be created.

Based on the views collected in Stage 1, the Conceptual Plan Options from the three architects first come to our sights today. These plans show the distribution of the arts and cultural facilities as well as various other land uses, including public open space, commercial, retail, dinning, hotel and residential space in the 40-hectare area. Internal infrastructure facilities and internal and external transport connectivity are also shown. The three plans are not only creative, but also reflective of the public’s expectations from the WKCD.

The Authority will collect public views through different channels and formats. Starting from today, until November 20, roving exhibitions will be held in different districts. The exhibitions will showcase the essence of all three plans through lively and interactive means, including 3D models, photomontage and animations. Explanatory videos and animations will also be uploaded to the Authority’s website for public viewing.

The Authority will organize public forums and dedicated forums for stakeholders and the youths in various locations. During the period of the exhibition, we will arrange guided tours for the public and students so to let them c have a better understanding about the plans. Details are available on the Authority’s website.

You can tell the Authority what you think through questionnaires, email, fax or just by writing to us. We will also continue to use the new media for the consultation. Discussions will be thrown open on my Facebook Group “West Kowloon Plaza”.

Through the Stage 2 Public Engagement exercise, we will collect the public’s preferences on individual features of the three Conceptual Plan Options. Their views will serve as an important reference for the Authority to select a Plan. The third stage of the exercise is tentatively scheduled for next year. During that stage, the Authority will develop the selected Conceptual Plan, into a detailed Development Plan. After taking into account public and stakeholders’ views, the Authority will submit the Development Plan to the Town Planning Board for consideration before 2012.

The Stage 2 Public Engagement exercise is a key step towards the success of the West Kowloon Cultural District. I call upon active participation from all of you, irrespective of whether you possess professional knowledge in master planning or not. You can simply express your views as a user. Public participation is very important to the planning of the WKCD. I hope everyone in Hong Kong can build a successful WKCD together!

Speech of Mr Graham Sheffield, Chief Executive Officer

What inspiring presentations! Breathtaking, all of them.

I am delighted to have arrived in HK just in time for the launch of this Public Engagement exercise – in fact, I only arrived here in the middle of last week. In many ways, it's an absolutely ideal time to arrive. I am new here, keen to get started and eager to listen and learn: PE2 offers both me and our very new West Kowloon management team the chance to listen to all of you and absorb and access a whole range of views and opinions.

I would like to thank first the Chairman of the Board who tirelessly steered the entire process to date and officiates at today’s opening. I would also like to thank the Consultation Panel of WKCDA for helping to make today's event and the entire engagement process possible, especially the chairman Professor Stephen Cheung.

Of course our distinguished masterplanners, whose truly impressive concepts you have just had the privilege of being amongst the first to experience

  • Foster and Partners
  • Rocco Design Architects Ltd
  • Office for Metropolitan Architecture

I'd like to pay particular personal tribute to the incredible spirit and dignity with which they have conducted this process and all their extra-ordinary work and skill.

Thanks are also due to our independent analysts at Polytechnic University of HK, who will be analysing all of the feedback from you and I hope you keep them very, very busy.

There has already been a huge amount of engagement with you, the people of Hong Kong and the city's arts and cultural groups: you have played a real role in the shape and focus of these three Conceptual Plan options before us. I know from talking already to the masterplanners and you can see in those film, how seriously and rigorously they have researched the projects and how seriously they have taken your views on board as expressed in Public Engagement 1. Also, I know because I’ve seen them around the table together, how much they respect each other as professional practices. So a remarkable amount of collaboration between the masterplanners and the people of Hong Kong in the engagement process.

And now – this critical moment when abstract thoughts become real visions and ideas, when those aspirations for creativity, vibrancy, connectivity, sustainability, accessibility, uniqueness and integration – when those abstract ideas and principles become within reach, become tangible and become visible. Three very different interpretations of one project, from one brief, from three world-class architects, influenced by input from you. So thank you, those who’ve contributed to the engagement process so far.

This is the future for Hong Kong, for those young people with us today, and many more like them, and their children. It is in this context that I ask you, I beg you earnestly, to all to participate fully in this Public Engagement process, visit the exhibition, go online, encourage your friends to do the same. We want as many people as possible to participate for all our sakes present here, yes, but also for the next generations, unable, for obvious reasons, to offer us yet their opinions! Though knowing HK even the unborn probably have opinions.

It is an unprecedented opportunity for the arts and culture in this region, if not the world. Indeed, the eyes of the world are on us here in HK at this point!

Your views will help guide all of us on the path towards a decision for the future of West Kowloon and the arts in Hong Kong.

Thank you for coming and please help us with this engagement. Thank you.