herzog & de meuron completes M+ museum building in hong kong

Mar 12, 2021

M+ has completed the construction of its museum building, which is set to open to the public at the end of 2021. designed by herzog & de meuron in partnership with TFP farrells and arup, the landmark building is seeking to become a new addition to the global arts and cultural landscape. located in hong kong’s west kowloon cultural district on the victoria harbour waterfront, it provides a permanent space for M+ — the first global museum of contemporary visual culture in asia dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and hong kong visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries.

the architectural form of the M+ museum consists of monumental horizontal and vertical volumes — an expansive podium and a strikingly slender tower — reflecting herzog & de meuron’s reading of the unique typologies of hong kong’s architectural landscape. beneath the building site lies the MTR airport express and tung chung line. while the site’s pre-existing condition presented a challenge, it also became a point of departure for the design. the excavation around the railway tunnels produced a ‘found space’ that provides an anchor for the building for hosting rotating installations.

the 65,000 square-meter building houses 17,000 square metres of exhibition space across 33 galleries. it also includes three cinemas, a mediatheque, a learning hub, a research center, museum shops, restaurants, a tea and coffee bar, a members lounge, and office spaces, with a roof garden that offers views of the harbor. most galleries are arranged on a large podium level on the second floor offering visitors a fluid, interconnected experience of the exhibitions.

the tower defines a visual dialogue with the urban landscape of hong kong. the tower façade 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. 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 the nearby glass and steel skyscrapers.

‘M+ certainly has the potential to become the major visual culture museum in asia,’ says jacques herzog, founding partner, herzog & de meuron. ‘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.’ see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

image © kevin mak, courtesy of herzog & de meuron

project info:

name: M+ museum location: hong kong architecture team: herzog & de meuron, TFP farrells, and arup status: set to open to the public at the end of 2021