Architecture – Designed by a global team of the world-renowned architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with TFP Farrells and Arup, M+ is the first global museum of contemporary visual culture in Asia. The T-shaped museum building 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.
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“M+ best expresses where we should go as a world culture, where diversity, equality, and access to art of all kinds are expressed from the very beginning.” Says Jacques Herzog, Founding Partner, Herzog & de Meuron. “This kind of diversity and broadness is part of the DNA of M+. This makes it a museum that is very much locally inspired, but at the same time universal and open; it is for the people and visitors across the world.”
The 65,000 square-metre M+ building houses 17,000 square metres of exhibition space across thirty-three galleries which are mostly arranged on a large podium level on the second floor, offering visitors a fluid, interconnected experience of the exhibitions. The building 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.
Located atop the podium, the Roof Garden directly connects with the Art Park of the West Kowloon Cultural District. It offers sweeping vistas of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island, and outlying islands.
Above, the tower defines a visual dialogue with Hong Kong’s urban landscape. 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.
The south facade of the tower is a dynamic, evolving media display screen. It is a visual amplification of M+ programs and accentuates the museum’s connection with the urban landscape facing Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island.
A lightwell inside the building, created by massive cutaways in the floor plates and the skylights, connects basement floors, the ground floor, and the podium level while offering visitors an immersive experience of the architecture and the museum from above and below.
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 hosting dynamic and rotating installations.
All photos: © Virgile Simon Bertrand and Kevin Mac – Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron.
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