Tag: Guest Speaker

West Kowloon Cultural District

Today, the program has brought in a guest speaker Louis Yu, the executive director of Performing Arts of WKCD Authority.

Louis joined the WKCDA in June 2010, he has played a pivotal role in leading the design and construction of the performing arts facilities. he has also oversee a series of pre-opening programmes for dance, drama and theatre arts, music and xiqu.

he introduced the development mix of the WKCD:

  • Core A&C facilities: 30%
  • Other A&C facilities: 10%
  • retail, dining & entertainment: 16%

Office, residential and hotel: 43% (15, 20 and 8) there is discussion on reducing residential and increase office space.  the revenue from the venues would go back to government.

Currently there is M+ Pavilion, XiQu Center, Free space, and arts park, currently all under construction. There used to be an idea of having a Opera house in the water front, like Sydney, but was denied due to the inconvenience of location. and there are a lot of reserved space, not yet start construction due to the high speed training project.

  1. Question on the Shanghai’s West Bund.

Shanghai’s West Bund is another one who has 8.4 Kilometers along the west bank of HuangPu River. their business model is different than the WKCD, who only recruited one consortium for all the projects. West Bund works with different contractors with different models and arrangements.

2. On question of “programming”, would we have enough programs in all the cultural centers in Hong kong.

Louis said, Hong Kong is not lack of programs, but lack of good audience and good programs. Hong kong is also lack of different operating models.

for example, Shanghai, if one wants to find a venue, there are options like, government owned or semi-government owned theatre, performing art group owned private venue, theatre integrated with shopping mall.

Hong Kong’s arts & cultural venues are highly subsidised, so it’s usually cheap, and people are quite spoiled, unwilling to explore new options, i guess because of the different pricing model.

3. why we chose “Palace museum” instead of other options. Why not Victoria & Albert, who is building a museum in Shekou.

Louis was very honest saying that he only knows about the Palace museum deal three weeks ago. and the authority is keeping this watertight.

Answer to the question is the V&A is quite close to M+, and it is adding palace museum is a more diversed choice. and it together with the XiQu Center, would make perfect book ends in the two edges of the WKCD.

V&A can potentially partner with both Palace museum and M+, since V&A has collections both very modern and ancient.

4. On my question of how we look into the developed cultural districts in other parts of the world and reference their practices.

Louis is very kind to elaborate on this topic. He mentioned one of the architecture designers who was chosen, Normal Foster‘s firm has done intensive study of examples overseas, to understand what makes a cultural district work. In Europe or the US, since they are already very much developed, they rely on the organic formation of the art and cultural district. Most of the similar districts are in Asia, where you have the flexibility of developing a sizable land from scratch.

Brooklyn wanted to build a cultural district leveraging their current art center, London’s Theatre land, and Copenhagen’s cultural center. they are all in high density areas in city center.

For Hong Kong, we will not see immediately the constructed area to become a cultural district, since Culture is people’s way of life, so unless people start interacting and make it into their daily life, the cultural element won’t come into play. We will probably need another 10+ years to see this happens.

also, the cultural district has to be flexible, since we never know what kind of new technology will we have in the future, and the structures need to be interchangeable as well.

5. On question of “how this WKCD” will make hong kong better.

Louis said this is making Arts more visible in Hong Kong. Currently the art pieces, art fairs are all hosted in an indoor place, closed environment. but with the WKCD, the entire place will include different buildings, open spaces, parks etc. So people can enjoy the arts even by walking on the streets.

Also, there will be art education areas in each building, to accomendate knowledge sharing and educational classes.

The session only takes an hour, but surprisingly it was very informative, and I become very interested in this project and start searching around on the topics around WKCD. i was extremely satisfied with Louis’s effort in trying to answer everyone’s question honestly and elaborately.

I Learned a lot today, found myself excited to learn everything related.