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Located on the western end of the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image and Hong Kong visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Following an international competition, the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, in joint venture with Hong Kong-based TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong, was selected in June 2013 to design and administer the M+ project.

M+ has reached the important milestone marking the completion of construction of the museum building. With the Occupation Permit for the museum building obtained on 24 December 2020, M+ is set to open to the public at the end of 2021.

Preview of M+ Building
The commanding architectural form consists of monumental horizontal and vertical volumes—an expansive podium and a strikingly slender tower.

The 65,000 square-metre M+ building houses 17,000 square metres 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. 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 tower facade also features an LED system for the display of content related to the museum, making a distinctive contribution to the city’s vibrant night-time environment.

Notable Architectural Features

1) Found Space
The MTR Airport Express and Tung Chung Line tunnels lie beneath the site of the M+ building. Excavations around the tunnels reveal a ‘found space’ that provides an anchor inside the building and can host dynamic rotating installations. In a remarkable feat of engineering, five mega-trusses—large steel elements encased in concrete frameworks—help support the massive structure and prevent it from bearing down on the tunnels.

2) Glazed ceramic facade
Glass-clad skyscrapers are ubiquitous in Hong Kong. The M+ building features ceramic components as a modular facade system. The dark green ceramic facade reflects conditions of light and weather in many different facets and shades. Ceramics also provide a localised environmental solution for the M+ building, to protect it from the long-term corrosive effects of heat, humidity, and wind.

3) Fully integrated tower facade
The south facade of the tower is a dynamic, evolving media display screen. It is a visual amplification of M+ programmes.

4) Lightwell
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.

5) Multi-purpose spaces
Multi-purpose spaces of various sizes in the building offer curators and artists a range of possibilities for realising projects. The sweeping Grand Stair auditorium is a place for gathering, a flexible venue for lectures, screenings, and other events.

6) Learning Hub
The Learning Hub is a space for learning, interpretation, and inspiration set against the backdrop of Victoria Harbour. It houses a Forum, workshops, and seminar rooms hosting programmes for all ages and interest groups. The pitched roof of the Learning Hub also provides access to the Roof Garden.

7) Outdoor gathering spaces
The Roof Garden is located atop the podium. It is an outdoor space that directly connects with the Art Park of the West Kowloon Cultural District and offers sweeping vistas of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Island, and outlying islands.

8) Locally inspired bamboo furniture
Furniture such as benches, reception desks, and ticketing counters are made from bamboo, recalling the informal structures found throughout Hong Kong.

9) A campus of buildings
The M+ building is part of a campus that also includes the CSF and the WKCDA Tower. The CSF is devoted to the conservation, restoration, archiving, and storage of the growing M+ Collections. The WKCDA Tower is a sixteen-storey building that will house the new head office of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority as well as retail, dining, and entertainment facilities.

Advance Construction Technologies
Gammon Construction was appointed Management Contractor of the M+ Museum, to oversee the construction completion of the project.

Given the complexity of the project, Gammon made extensive use of advanced construction technologies. Among the technologies deployed were Building Information Modelling (BIM), 3D Scanning, lasers, drones, IoT sensors and Augmented Reality (AR), all integrated under Gammon’s Integrated Digital Project Delivery (IDPD) approach for better planning, progress tracking and decision-making.

One area where these technologies came into play was the installation of the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) services. Concealing all the MEP services, including fibre optic cables, wiring, and fire service pipes, was a very difficult technical challenge. To help the engineers determine where the services would go, Gammon made use of Augmented Reality so they could visualise the desired locations precisely.

One of the most memorable features of M+ will be the surface finish of the main tower, which is made up of precast concrete units incorporating terracotta tiles with a unitised aluminium facade behind. The podium tiles of the facade, which resemble the bamboo tiles of Hong Kong’s distinctive Chinese roofs, were extruded in Italy and formed into precast concrete panels in China. Terracotta is long-lasting but also delicate, delivering the units to Hong Kong and installing them on site required a great deal of coordination, which was made possible by using BIM for clash detection. The assembly of the units and their installation was also an example of the benefits of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) for achieving higher quality and savings in time, labour and cost.

The design of M+ incorporates latest proven technologies and encourages sustainability to be adopted in the development. M+ shall target to become a "Low Carbon and Low Energy" landmark venue in the district.

Green building and energy saving design is considered for both collection and non-collection areas where practicable in M+. Throughout the whole development of the M+ building, the BEAM Plus is followed (a comprehensive environmental assessment scheme widely adopted in Hong Kong, similar to BREEAM and LEED ) as far as practicable for sustainable building design features.

Emphasis is put on Integrated Sustainable Building Design (ISBD) for the whole M+ development - integrating architectural, construction, mechanical, electrical and other technical disciplines throughout the design process for M+, in order to minimize energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Artist Square Bridge and Relevant Modification Works for Connection
Gammon Construction Limited has been awarded the design and build contract of Artist Square Bridge and relevant modification works for its connection by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. The Contract Works is funded by the Government and entrusted to the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

The architectural design of the bridge calls for an iconic arch structure spanning 73 metres across Austin Road West. The site presents a number of major constraints including traffic and pedestrian management and existing utilities and Gammon’s construction solution involves assembly of structural modules south of Austin Road and push launching the completed bridge into its final position.

The completion of the Artist Square Bridge will provide a direct, round-the-clock, barrier-free connection between the developments above MTR Kowloon Station and Artist Square of West Kowloon Cultural District (the District), including easy access to the new M+ Museum and the existing Art Park and Water Promenade, making the District more accessible and integrated to the nearby transportation hub located at Kowloon Station.

The M+ project had been granted the Practical Completion Certificate in February this year. The artwork installation and fit-out works in the galleries, museum shops, and food and beverage facilities are in progress. M+ is scheduled to open to the public at the end of 2021. In anticipation of the M+ opening, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority targets to complete the entire Artist Square Bridge project by then, a couple of months earlier than the scheduled completion date.

Official Website of Gammon Construction and West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Complimentary copies available to members of the following associations:

The Hong Kong Construction Association
Macau Coustruction Association
Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association
Hong Kong Institute of Utility Specialists
China Hongkong Society for Trenchless Technology Association
Hong Kong Construction Materials Association Limited
Contractor's Authorised Signatory Association
Hong Kong Construction Machinery Association