A Look Into Herzog & de Meuron’s M+ Museum in Hong Kong

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With an opening date set for November 12, 2021, Hong Kong’s newest museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron is a long-awaited architectural marvel.

Dedicated to visual culture, the M+ Museum will showcase 20th and 21st-century visual culture throughout its multiple exhibitions. Located in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Cultural District, the museum was designed by the world-renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with worldwide architecture firms TFP Farrels, and Arup. Together, they developed every intricate space within the building’s 60,000 square meters.

In 2013, an international jury unanimously selected architects Herzog & de Meuron as the winners of the design competition for the museum. The driver for the design was to incorporate a wide variety of spaces within the building to suit the museum’s varied collections and be adaptable to the ongoing changes and needs of the museum.

The final design is a slender tower coupled with an expansive podium. Together, they form an inverted “T” shape with the podium consisting of three levels. The podium will house the majority of the public spaces in the building, as well as the main entrance and foyer on the main floor. The entrance is surrounded by a museum shop, lecturing space, and a gallery space, as well as the main circulatory space for visitors. The second floor above the entrance houses most of the gallery spaces for the museum. The floor below the entrance, the basement level, houses more gallery spaces as well as a shop and a cafe which over an expansive look at the adjacent Victoria Harbor.

The tower portion of the building is twelve stories tall sitting atop the podium’s three stories. As the majority of the public spaces are located on the podium, the tower features expansive office spaces. At the very top, it features a rooftop garden as well as additional restaurants and bars for visitors to enjoy. The rooftop garden celebrates the surrounding landscape of Hong Kong, offering aerial views of the harbor, the adjacent 14-hectare park, and the urban city that surrounds the building. The tower component of the building also serves to highlight the building’s presence in the city, and give the museum an undeniable presence along Hong Kong’s skyline.

With over 30 different gallery spaces, three theaters, a media library, learning and research centers, restaurants, coffee bars, lounges, offices, and even a roof garden, it’s no doubt that the M+ Museum was built to impress. Herzog & de Meuron’s founder describes the building as “It 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. 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.”

While the building’s design is unique and forward-thinking it also connects to the surrounding urban landscape of the city. The tower facades made of concrete clad in ceramic tiles stand out from the surrounding glass skyscrapers. An innovative addition to the building’s facade makes it even more interesting, and that is the incorporation of an LED light system on the shell of the building that allows the museum to display content for all to see. Not only does this help the museum extend their offerings outside of the museum’s walls, but also illuminates streets of the Kowloon Cultural District in a way that no other building has done before.

M+ will be one of the first completed buildings to open in the cultural district facing the Victoria Harbor. The iconic design created between Herzog & de Meuron, TFP Farrels, and Arup will certainly set the tone for the future works that will take a place in this new up-and-coming area. With another sixteen cultural venues slated to be built at the West Kowloon Cultural District, architects and designers alike will be forced to continue thinking critically and pushing the boundaries of the built environment.

The M+ Museum galleries are set to open to guests on November 12, 2021, with an official opening ceremony and media tour the day prior. The opening exhibitions will include the “M+ Sigg Collection: From Revolution to Globalisation”, “Things Spaces, Interactions”, “Individuals, Networks, Expressions”, and many more. There will also be a full program including performances, tours, workshops, and online events that will take place over the three weekends following the museum’s grand opening.

The museum will offer free entrance to visitors for the first year, and open from Tuesday to Sunday each week. The M+ Museum staff welcomes visitors to enjoy the one-of-a-kind exhibitions that are unlike any other modern art museum in the West.


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