Casting New Light on Architecture

Rendering of M+ In Hong Kong, a city with an increasingly toxic political atmosphere, where the future looks uncertain and just about every small endeavour is greeted by controversy, M+ is one of the few bright spots on the horizon. That’s not to say the 60,000-square-metre, HK$5 billion museum of visual culture has enjoyed a […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Interior Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Casting New Light on Architecture , , , ,

Future Festivals

Clockenflap 2012. Photo by Chris Lusher Construction has only just begun on Hong Kong’s multi-billion-dollar West Kowloon Cultural District, but the 100-acre waterfront site has already become the city’s most coveted venue for outdoor events, with a string of festivals set to take place over the next three weeks. Among them are Clockenflap, a three-day […]

Blown Away

Lately, Hong Kong has taken on the airs of a carnival gone wrong. In late April, as a damp wind blew and the sky loomed heavy, Florentijn Hofman’s giant rubber duck floated into Victoria Harbour, igniting a media frenzy — the South China Morning Post ran no fewer than 12 articles on the duck — […]

The Space Between Notes

Rendering of the Xiqu Centre Early December was a busy time for Bing Thom. First, there was his 72nd birthday, followed shortly by an announcement that the renowned Canadian architect had won the competition to design the new Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong, the first of 17 cultural venues to be built in the West […]

Free at Last

When the Hong Kong public was invited to choose a master plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District, they were met by ambitious presentations from each of the proposals. The most sophisticated pitch of all came from Norman Foster’s office, which provided seductively realistic renderings of their City Park concept, which included grassy meadows overlooking […]

The Bamboo Theatre

Standing inside the cavernous belly of the 800-seat West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre, bamboo master Ying Che and her head worker, Sunny Yim, gaze up at their creation. “It’s very satisfying,” says Yim, a sturdy man with a boyish face who has been building bamboo theatres for nearly 40 years. “When you come to a performance, […]

The Ghosts of Oil Street

Oil Street. Photo by Eric To This story was originally published in the November 2010 edition of Muse, the new-defunct review of Hong Kong arts and culture. It was a hot night when I sat inside the cluttered studios of the pirate radio station FM 101, six floors up inside an industrial building in Kwun […]

Inside Foster’s Plan for West Kowloon

When Norman Foster won the international competition for the master plan of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong last spring, I was disappointed. I thought it was plug-and-play urbanism, a crowd-pleasing design that had too much in common with so many interchangeable urban neighbourhoods that have sprung up in the past 20 years. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Environment, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Inside Foster’s Plan for West Kowloon , , , ,

The City in an Art Museum

Paddling Home, Kacey Wong, 2010 It’s not often that you get a chance to build a museum from scratch, but that is exactly what’s happening in Hong Kong, where a long-awaited museum of contemporary art and visual culture will soon take shape. The 40,000-square-metre museum, known as M+ — short for Museum Plus — will […]

Hong Kong’s Generic Cultural District

Call it déjà vu: five years after Norman Foster’s plan for the West Kowloon Cultural District was scrapped in the face of massive public controversy, another Foster plan for the district has been chosen. On Friday, the authority in charge of developing the cultural district announced that Foster’s bid was selected over rival plans by […]

The View from West Kowloon

The biennale of architecture and urbanism that took place in West Kowloon earlier this year was underfunded and underattended, but it was also an example of what shape Hong Kong’s future “cultural district” could take. The official plans call for museums, concert halls, public squares and other well-defined, well-regulated spaces, but what the biennale showed […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The View from West Kowloon , , , ,

Asking for Advice on West Kowloon

[youtube width=”400″ height=”324″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ROHg9yd6U0[/youtube] I never thought there could be another major newspaper that would make the Montreal Gazette seem hip and with-it — but then I started reading the South China Morning Post. Whereas the Gazette at least tries to overcome its fuddy-duddy image as the newspaper of record for grey-haired West Islanders (sometimes quite […]