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The Board of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) selected City Park designed by Foster + Partners as the preferred option for the development of the future arts and culture hub.

At a meeting today, the WKCDA Board endorsed the recommendation made by a Selection Panel tasked to scrutinise the three proposed conceptual plans  -- City Park designed by Foster + Partners (Foster), Cultural Connect: Key to Sustained Vitality by Rocco Design Architects Limited (Rocco), and Project for a New Dimension by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

The Selection Panel, headed by Hon Ronald Arculli, who is also the Chairman of the WKCDA Development Committee, recommended City Park to the Board as the preferred option, based on a comprehensive set of selection criteria approved by the Board.

The Board chose Foster's City Park for its balanced mix of land uses integrating arts and cultural facilities with other uses which improves visitor experience and enhances vibrancy in WKCD.  The city park concept, relaxing atmosphere and various green features in Foster's scheme earned the most public support in the Stage 2 Public Engagement exercise.  The scheme also puts forth clustering concepts that minimise footprint and create greater synergy between different facilities.  Foster's proposals to support arts education and cultural software development facilitate WKCDA's work in nurturing arts talents and building audiences.

Moreover, as the WKCD project will span a number of years over different phases by way of organic growth, the high degree of flexibility demonstrated in Foster's scheme not only allows swapping of sites to facilitate earlier development of core arts and cultural facilities, but also allows public enjoyment of arts and cultural facilities amidst ongoing construction programmes. The park and open space proposed in Foster's scheme also allow room to accommodate temporary arts and cultural activities prior to the commissioning of phase 1 facilities.

"It is indeed a close call to make because each of the three conceptual plans has its excellent aspects. I share their difficulties in having to choose one from the three excellent pieces of work," said the Chairman of the WKCDA Board, Mr Henry Tang, in announcing the decision.

The other two plans, Rocco's Cultural Connect: Key to Sustained Vitality comprises a well delineated layout allowing fine integration of arts and cultural facilities with public open space while OMA's Project for a New Dimension demonstrates how a thematic layout could showcase the unique local and traditional characteristics of Hong Kong. 

"I wish to thank the three master planning teams for their hard work in giving us three unique designs each with its distinctive characteristics. I would also like to thank Selection Panel members for their tireless work in assessing the three options. I am pleased that we now have a decision on which we can move on to realise the project," he added.

The Selection Panel, comprising experts with arts, cultural and professional background and with connection to the local community, arrived at the recommendation after a very vigorous and stringent assessment process (See Annex for details).

Members have held six meetings, poured over voluminous analyses and studies to assess the plans against the six selection criteria including meeting planning design principles, meeting community and stakeholders aspirations, design and phasing flexibility, technical strengths and weaknesses, financial implications and fulfilling the key planning and development requirements. They have also met representatives from the three master planning teams for elaboration and clarification. The final selection was witnessed by an independent auditor and the results audited.

Based on the preferred option, a Development Plan will be prepared and unveiled to the public in summer before its submission to the Town Planning Board. In preparing the Development Plan, WKCDA will take note of public preferences on individual features of the other two conceptual plans and incorporate them if they are technically feasible and financially viable with due regard to the integrity of the preferred option.

"In the process, we will also take into account public and stakeholders' preferences on arts and cultural facilities to come up with a realistic phasing arrangement to maximise the resources in hand," Mr Tang said.

"With the selected master design, we are now one step closer to our vision of having a world-class cultural district that represents the aspirations and creativity of Hong Kong."

 

WKCDA Selects Foster + Partners' City Park as the Preferred Option for Future Arts Hub

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WKCDA
Hong Kong

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