The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 94th meeting today. At the meeting, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA, Mrs Betty Fung, reported on the progress of a number of different areas.
In response to the fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority continues to adapt the latest measures by the Government. Mrs Fung noted that the Authority had announced the temporary closure of certain performing arts venues in the West Kowloon Cultural District (the District) until further notice. Performances and programmes originally planned on or before 31 December 2020 had hence been rescheduled or cancelled. Details of rescheduled performances and refund arrangements would be announced respectively via the District’s website www.westkowloon.hk in due course. Meanwhile, the Art Park had remained open to the public. The District’s website would continue to offer programmes and activities online. Please visit the individual programme’s web page for more information.
Mrs Fung went on to report on the Completion of Building Structure Event for the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM), which took place in the morning on 18 November 2020 and was attended by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other distinguished guests. A media visit to the HKPM work site was arranged on the afternoon of the same day, which attracted nearly 60 journalists from 32 media outlets. Afterwards, media interviews were arranged with Dr Louis Ng, Museum Director of HKPM. The event was widely covered by local, Mainland China and overseas media, generating more than 280 items of media coverage. The coverage brought welcome positive publicity to areas such as the museum’s scheduled opening in mid-2022 and its effort to be completed within the approved budget, and the news that the museum will display around 800 priceless objects loaned from the Palace Museum.
Mrs Fung added that this event and the associated media interviews helped generate a positive image for HKPM, and effectively present HKPM’s vision and positioning to the public. To keep the positive momentum going, HKPM is due to conduct a series of consultation meetings with various community groups starting from December 2020 and running for a period of four months. As part of the museum’s initiatives to enhance public engagement, these meetings will gather public views on the museum’s upcoming operations and programmes.
Although members of the public might not be able to enjoy performances at the District in person during the current pandemic, they could explore arts and culture topics at home through a series of online programmes.
Mrs Fung stated an example that the Authority had invited the internationally acclaimed DJ Kid Koala to host a family-friendly online Robot House Party on 19 and 20 December 2020. DJ Kid Koala would play a live DJ set via Zoom where children participated in the party could use their creativity to build personal robot costumes at home using their own materials. Upon completion, children could dress as their own robots to enjoy the Robot House Party together with their families and other robots under the upbeat electronic music bought by DJ Kid Koala for this robot extravaganza.
Mrs Fung also shared two successful events which had taken place in West Kowloon. One of them is Archigram Cities, which was organised by M+ in November 2020 in collaboration with the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. Archigram was a London-based group consisting of six architects who had put forward many forward-looking propositions. Embedded the Archigram archive in its new home, M+, the Archigram Cities online and offline events included talks, presentations, and a symposium, introduced Achigram’s work to new audiences in the form of encounters between members of the Archigram group and architects, scholars, students, and other audiences from different parts of the world.
Mrs Fung supplemented that the Archigram Cities was part of M+ Matters, a series of discussions that informs the museum’s curatorial approach, as well as M+ International, a platform for partnership with institutions around the world where shared interests and challenges are addressed.
At its peak, there were more than 12,550 online participants in the ‘M+ International x Power Station of Art: Archigram Cities’ event, representing very strong participation in an academic activity and in one of the new platforms offered by M+. Meanwhile, the ‘M+ Matters: Archigram Cities Online Symposium’ drew more than 3,900 registrations and collected a truly international audience.
The other activity introduced by Mrs Fung is an extension of this year’s Cypher dance and movement series, which ran from October to December 2020. This involved Freespace commissioning artist and graphic designer Calvin Ho @AtomicAttack to create its first mural on an exterior wall adjacent to Lau Bak Livehouse as West Kowloon’s latest check-in spot. The large-scale mural, titled ‘Ensemble II’, was completed in just three weeks, and time-lapse videos of the entire process can be viewed on the District’s website.
With regard to project development, Mrs Fung reported that the previous week had seen the successful completion of the final trials of the M+ building’s hot smoke tests by the contractor. The Fire Services Department would be back on-site shortly for inspection, as a prelude to issuing a fire certificate for the building. The Authority is continuing to make progress with the final statutory inspections for the M+ project, and hopes to obtain the Occupation Permit upon the completion of the inspections.
Meanwhile, progress on the Lyric Theatre Complex (LTC) and the Integrated Basement (IB) has continued steadily. The L1 Works Contract, which covers the substructure of the facilities, is now in its final stages. The L2 Works Contract, which covers the superstructure of the LTC, is concurrently under construction on the same site.
To conclude, Mrs Fung noted that works on the Austin Road Pedestrian Linkage System connecting the Xiqu Centre basement to MTR Austin Station have now been substantially completed. Once statutory inspections are completed, the pedestrian link is expected to open to the public in the first quarter of 2021.
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.