What’s Going on at the M+ Construction Site? November 2017
When you visit the M+ Pavilion right now—perhaps to see the new exhibition The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+—you’ll find yourself in the middle of a very active construction site. Right next to the M+ Pavilion is the main construction area of the M+ building, slated for completion in 2019. It’s loud, and it’s busy, but what exactly is going on? We’re here to explain.
1. The vertical tower has begun to rise
Over the past couple of years, foundations have been laid and excavations have been made. Now, the podium—a horizontal platform that will house the main galleries—and the vertical tower are already being built. Over the next six months, you’ll see the tower rising up higher and higher. As of right now, it’s already reached the seventh floor, out of sixteen floors in total. The tower will contain a research centre, curatorial centre, restaurants, café, and a member’s lounge.
2. The five mega trusses supporting the building have been embedded in concrete
The M+ building is built above the bundle of tunnels for the Airport Express train connecting the Hong Kong International Airport and Central in Hong Kong Island, and the Tung Chung subway line. Because of this, the building needs five mega trusses—large steel frameworks—to distribute its massive weight safely over the tunnels. Having finished the mega trusses, and firmly embedded them in concrete, means that the most challenging phase of construction has passed.
The shape and design of the inside of the M+ building actually plays with the design of the Airport Express tunnel. A major reason for why Basel, Switzerland-based architect firm Herzog & de Meuron won the M+ Design Competition was that they provided the only entry that responded directly to the condition of the site, rather than simply ignoring it.
By mirroring the tiered shape of the tunnels, a new gallery space could be designed, with an entirely unique and site-specific structure. This gallery is called the ‘Found Space’.
3. Bonus: an artist is visiting the site to document the building process
Hong Kong artist Eason Tsang Ka-wai has been regularly visiting the M+ construction site since 2015 to produce artistic documentations of the M+ building process. Tsang is an emerging artist and photographer whose various projects, such as his 2012 series Landmark, Rooftops, render familiar spaces into unfamiliar territories. He will keep visiting the site until the building is finished, and has already produced dozens of photographs, some of which are sprinkled throughout this post.
So that’s what’s going on at the M+ construction site! Next time you visit the M+ Pavilion, see if you can make out the different parts of the building. Check back in a couple of months for more updates, and, in the meantime, keep track of the building process on the West Kowloon Cultural District website.
Image at top of post: A photo by Hong Kong artist Eason Tsang Ka-wai of the M+ construction site in September 2017. Photo © Eason Tsang Ka-wai.