The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) held its 82nd meeting today.
In the meeting, Mr Duncan Pescod, Chief Executive Officer of the WKCDA reported that M+ is now over 60% completed. In the next few months, the building superstructure will be water-tight, allowing the final fit-out of the gallery and public spaces to be completed prior to the statutory inspection process at the end of this year.
The site progress of the Lyric Theatre Complex project and the surrounding integrated basement have achieved over 90% of the required excavation. Construction of the lowest basement slab is well underway. The next stage will be the installation of the isolation springs. The construction of the Hong Kong Palace Museum project remains on track, on time and in good progress.
Mr Pescod also reported that the WKCDA’s actual works for the Zone 2 integrated basement for the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) and the Artist Square Bridge are subject to approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. This will impact on the construction of the Music Centre, the remaining cultural facilities and the commercial development in this area.
On commercial project, Mr Pescod was pleased to report that the WKCDA is seeking Expression of Interest (EOI) for the Art, Commerce and Exhibitions (ACE) project, which is to include an exhibition centre set in a vibrant downtown art district, a hotel and rental offices together with embedded retail/dining/entertainment facilities. The ACE will be packaged as a joint development forming an Exhibition Hub.
All commercial development packages within the WKCD, including ACE, will be undertaken through open and competitive tendering. In this case, private sector investors are invited to submit an EOI in order to prequalify for the subsequent tender for the design, construction, finance, maintenance and operation of the ACE project under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) procurement model. The ownership of the land and premises will be retained by the WKCDA. The BOT model will generate a steady income stream to help enhance the long-term financial sustainability of the WKCDA.
Also in the meeting, Mr Pescod was excited to announce the completion of the WKCD’s second major performing arts venue – Freespace. Located in the heart of the Art Park, Freespace offers a dynamic, creative and flexible space for arts and cultural events. It is a new platform for artistic experimentation and exploration. Freespace houses The Box, one of the largest black box theatres in Hong Kong and a flexible space for cutting-edge performances. There are also The Room and The Studio, two multi-purpose spaces designed to be used for creative exchange and artistic collaborations. Freespace is adjacent to the great lawn and other outdoor performance spaces in the Art Park.
Freespace came into operation in mid-June 2019. Programming in The Box includes partnership co-presentations with Le French May, Edward Lam Dance Theatre, the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre and others. Details are now available on the WKCD website and flyers in ticket offices. The Freespace Livehouse will open at the end of summer in 2019, offering live entertainment with food and drinks, for people to drop by with friends and enjoy a great selection of craft beer, signature cocktails and delicious meals and snacks there.
At the Xiqu Centre, “Music in the Atrium” is featuring a range of musical programmes presented by professional troupes, including classical and folk tunes and Chinese opera music. The programmes will showcase the versatility of traditional wind, string and percussion instruments. The performances take place on alternate weekends of each month and please visit the WKCD website for details.
Last but not least, the latest exhibition at the M+ Pavilion, Five Artists: Sites Encountered is now on view until 20 October 2019. The exhibition brings together an international group of female artists whose varied approaches offer ways to rethink ideas of site and place.
About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.