Swire Properties today (Wednesday, 7 July 2004) released an outline of its submission to the Hong Kong Government in response to the Invitation for Proposals for West Kowloon Cultural District.
The Swire Properties proposal is fully supportive of Government's overarching objective to provide new world-class arts and cultural facilities to enhance Hong Kong's status as Asia's World City. Swire Properties is also strongly supportive of Government's stated desire to enhance and improve the Harbour and its waterfront: indeed, proposals for the Harbour in Central and South East Kowloon were presented by Swire Properties to Government and the public in 1998 and 1999.
The Swire Properties submission envisions West Kowloon as the catalyst for the sustainable development of new cultural facilities and as the location of certain new public amenities, including a over 30 hectare of Harbour Park and Living Roof. However, Swire Properties believes that Government's cultural objectives need not be focused solely on West Kowloon, and that wider social and economic benefit would be derived by the integration of new world-class facilities in the prime waterfront areas of Tsim Sha Tsui and Central, where successful arts and cultural facilities are presently located.
Through this wider focus, at three sites rather than a single site, Swire Properties' vision will both enhance and bring the Harbour together to create the Cultural Harbour. The cornerstones of the Cultural Harbour are a new performance venue in West Kowloon, new world-class theatres in both Tsim Sha Tsui and Central, and new museums and arts galleries optimally located on the Central waterfront.
Whilst fully satisfying the Government's arts objectives, the Cultural Harbour additionally provides an extensive network of new public parks and shaded green open spaces in all three locations. Seizing these rare improvement opportunities will enliven the Harbour, will link new and old cultural facilities to the Harbour along new green waterfronts, encourage community and visitor access to art, culture and Hong Kong's iconic Harbour and will lead the transformation of Hong Kong into Asia's World City of Culture.
Swire Properties' Director and General Manager Gordon Ongley commented: "We welcome the opportunity to outline Swire Properties' broad vision for the Cultural Harbour and we look forward to the Government sharing the details of our submission with the community as part of the upcoming public consultation exercise."
Swire Properties has assembled a team of experienced local and international architects and consultants, including Arquitectonica, Gehry Partners LLP, L'Observatoire International, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Scott Wilson Ltd., SWA Group and Wong & Ouyang (HK) Ltd.