The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 97th meeting today. At the meeting, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA, Mrs Betty Fung, reported on recent progress in different areas managed by the Authority.
Mrs Fung began by providing an update on the progress of the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM). Installation of mechanical and electrical equipment, as well as of building services and fire services facilities, is progressing well and as planned, with completion targeted for the third quarter of this year. By then, it is expected that the museum will obtain Occupation Permit as well.
In addition, HKPM has organised a total of eight stakeholder engagement activities since December last year to exchange views with stakeholders from the arts and cultural and education sectors on the future development of the museum. Four sessions were conducted online with more than 500 participants, including local arts and cultural groups, principals of primary and secondary schools, and educators from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and the universities. The other four sessions brought together participants from various arts and cultural advisory bodies, as well as museum directors and experts from local museums, all of whom shared valuable ideas on the positioning of the museum and its future work. Their views are useful reference in programme and service planning for the museum. HKPM will organise more public engagement activities, including seminars, to strengthen its connection with the community and the public before its opening in mid-2022. In addition, the Chairman of the HKPM Board Mr Bernard Charnwut Chan and the Museum Director Dr Louis Ng will share with the public the groundwork and planning of the HKPM in an online dialogue on 22 May. The public is welcome to participate in the sharing session.
Mrs Fung also reported that the M+ project had been granted the Practical Completion Certificate in February this year. The artwork installation and fit-out works in the galleries, museum shops, and food and beverage facilities are in progress. On 3 May, the Authority also gave an update on the preparations for the M+ opening to the Joint Subcommittee to Monitor the Implementation of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project of the Legislative Council. M+ is scheduled to open to the public at the end of 2021. This will be followed by a three-weekend celebratory programme that will offer different entry points for audiences to enjoy the museum space and discover the content. M+ will also provide a wide range of events including conversations and tours, live performances, making workshops, screenings and digital programmes to allow the audiences to experience how visual culture can be relevant to their everyday life.
Regarding the Xiqu Centre, Mrs Fung reported that the Austin Road Pedestrian Linkage System opened on 21 March, providing a convenient access for the public heading to the Xiqu Centre via the Exit E of MTR Austin Station. Starting from 15 April, free live music performances have been offered every Thursday evening near the escalator from the Xiqu Centre to MTR Austin Station, offering various music performances for people on their way home after a hard day’s work. Besides, Vocal Jazz Tribe also presented jazz performance at the programme ‘Music in the Atrium’ at the Xiqu Centre on 24 and 25 April, attracting over 500 audience.
In addition, the Xiqu Centre is organising an ‘Intergenerational Xiqu Journey’ that will run from 15 May to 19 June. For this event, seniors aged 60 or above and their younger generations will be invited to participate in a series of Cantonese opera activities together. The activities include Xiqu Centre Guided Tour, Xiqu Movement Workshop and Tea House Theatre Performance. The programme aims to give participants a taste of this much-loved traditional Hong Kong art form, while at the same time encouraging the exchanges of memories and feelings about urban development and culture between the generations, to promote intergenerational communication.
The weekend live music performances at Freespace’s Lau Bak Livehouse have resumed. Every Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, a variety of music performances are staged at the venue for fans of jazz, indie rock, blues, pop-folk and other genres.
On other construction projects and facilities, Mrs Fung reported that WKCDA’s staff members are now moving into the WKCDA Tower in phases. The construction of the Artist Square Bridge (ASB), which will provide a direct connection between Artist Square of the West Kowloon Cultural District (the District) and the topside developments of MTR Kowloon Station, is progressing well. The lift tower structure of the ASB has been completed, and the main bridge segments began to be delivered to Hong Kong in April. In anticipation of the M+ opening at the end of this year, the Authority targets to complete the entire ASB project by then, a couple of months earlier than the scheduled completion date.
The Authority will soon be awarding the piling works contract for Zones 2B and 2C of the District, as well as the consultancy contract for the detailed design works for the Integrated Basement and underground road in Zones 2B and 2C.
Finally, Mrs Fung said she was delighted to announce that two projects in the District have received awards from The Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modelling – HKPM, which won a bronze award in the Mega Projects Category, while the Lyric Theatre Complex, which won a gold award in the Statutory Bodies Projects Category. The Authority will continue to encourage all project contractors to apply Building Information Modelling (BIM) in their work on the projects of the District.
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.