Building M+: the new Hong Kong museum’s first architecture exhibition

Building M+: the new Hong Kong museum’s first architecture exhibition

In Hong Kong things move fast: M+, the city’s new visual arts museum by Herzog & de Meuron has yet to be built (it opens in 2017) but that hasn’t stopped the curators from initiating a series of engaging ’Mobile M+’ exhibitions designed to make their mark as a cultural institution.

The new show, ’Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection’, is a preview of the museum’s growing collection of architectural models, drawings, renderings and photographs - the first of its kind in Asia - and is dedicated to modern post-war architecture with an Asian reference. It includes diverse gems ranging from original drawings of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel by Frank Lloyd Wright to images of the Guangzhou Opera House by Dutch photographer Iwan Baan.

The exhibition is brought together by M+ executive director Dr Lars Nittve and design and architecture curator and Wallpaper* contributor Aric Chen who also champions Hong Kong and China’s own designers such as Rocco Yim, CL3 Architects Ltd, MAD, Ai Wei Wei, Jiakun Architects, and Open Architecture.

Chen says the decision to link the consideration of art with the language of modern architecture in the exhibition is very important. He points to works by artists like Stanley Wong (AKA anothermountainman), ’whose Lanwei series of photographs of hundreds of abandoned construction projects contribute a wider view of architecture’. 

Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the future cultural landmark is understandably the star attraction. It is represented by a series of easy-to-understand floor plans, a specially commissioned building model and a video that together successfully create an enticing spatial experience of their design for the West Kowloon waterfront site. 

’The installation helps to explain the complexity behind what seems like a simple T-shape structure,’ says Herzon & de Meuron senior partner Ascan Mergenthaler. ’It is in fact a highly functional space where even the façade will communicate the content through screened images.’

The Swiss architectural firm, in collaboration with TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners HK, won the coveted design project against keen competition last year. The exhibition includes an overview of the selection process showing shortlisted design proposals from the likes of Snøhetta, Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Toyo Ito & Associates. §

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