The first global museum of contemporary visual culture in Asia is set to open to public at the end of 2021 in Hong Kong. Named M+, the museum is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Designed by a global team of the world-renowned architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with TFP Farrells and Arup, the M+ building is set to become a new addition to the global arts and cultural landscape and a new international architectural icon.
The commanding architectural form consists of monumental horizontal and vertical volumes–an expansive podium and a strikingly slender tower–reflecting the architects’ reading of the unique typologies of Hong Kong’s architectural landscape and their sensitivity to local urban conditions.
Beneath the building site lies the MTR Airport Express and Tung Chung Line. While the pre-existing site condition presents a challenge to design and construction, it has also become a point of departure for the M+ building. The excavation around the railway tunnels produces a ‘found space’ that provides an anchor for the building for hosting dynamic and rotating installations.
The 65,000 square-meter M+ building houses 17,000 square meters of exhibition space across thirty-three galleries. It also includes three cinemas, a Mediatheque, a Learning Hub, a Research Centre, museum shops, restaurants, a tea and coffee bar, a Members Lounge, and office spaces, with a Roof Garden that commands spectacular views of Victoria Harbour.
Most galleries are arranged on a large podium level on the second floor offering visitors a fluid, interconnected experience of the exhibitions. The tower defines a visual dialogue with the urban landscape of Hong Kong. The podium and tower are united as concrete structures clad in ceramic tiles that reflect the changing conditions of light and weather while standing out from nearby glass and steel skyscrapers.
Museum staff have moved into and started to activate the M+ building and the Conservation and Storage Facility (CSF). Preparations including environmental stabilization, space fit-outs, the move of permanent collections, and the installation of collection works and objects have commenced with a view to opening the M+ to the public at the end of 2021.
Betty Fung, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, stated the significance of the M+ building for both the West Kowloon Cultural District and Hong Kong. ‘I believe that M+ will become one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in Hong Kong and a must-visit cultural landmark for local residents and tourists in the future.