Town planners approve extension and renovation plan
One of Hong Kong’s most popular museums, the Hong Kong Museum of Art in Tsim Sha Tsui, will get a major makeover after getting the town planning green light.
Last Friday the Metro Planning Committee of the Town Planning Board gave the nod for plans by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to carry out major renovation to increase exhibition space and reconfigure the facilities.
One major part of the work is converting part of the existing roof into new gallery space.
As the roof extension would result in the maximum building height restriction of 30mPD in the outline zoning plan covering Tsim Sha Tsui to be exceeded, a section 16 application was required to increase the height restriction to 37.5 mPD.
“The HKMA premises has been in operation as part of the cultural complex at Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, for more than 20 years without major renovation and therefore the museum facilities are aging and falling short of exhibition needs,” the department’s planning statement said.
The museum, completed in 1991, saw attendance rising from 276,046 in 2000/2001 to 763,210 in 2012/2013.
Apart from the roof extension, other major items in the renovation include adding a new storey to the annex building, a new exhibition space and entrance area and upgrading of the façade.
The gross floor area for the gallery will increase 42 percent to 10,050 square metres after renovation.
One reason for the roof extension was that the current headroom of 3.5 to 4.5 metres of the existing gallery was insufficient to display large artworks.
The roof extension would have a headroom of 5 metres while the new gallery space in the annex building would have a headroom of about 10 metres.
In its consideration paper to the board, Planning Department said: “The proposed renovation works would involve the provision of a new glass iconic structure of introductory exhibition space together with transparent entrance foyer and glass corridor enclosure at G/F, which would enhance the visual connection and linkage with the adjoining street level space between Salisbury Garden and Hong Kong Space Museum.”
The proposed renovation of the museum forms part of a three-phase revitalization plan for the Hong Kong Cultural complex.
Phase I, the renovation of the western part of Salisbury Garden, started in May this year to turn it into a new Art Square for the display of artworks and act as a forecourt to the museum.
Phase II, which includes the museum renovation and revitalization of the eastern part of Salisbury Garden and Avenue of Stars, is scheduled to start in late 2014 for completion in late 2017.
“Phase III would include the renovation of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from 2018 onwards, the scope of work parameters is under study,” the planning statement said.
The plan to renovate the Museum of Art dates back to the government’s policy agenda in 2007/08 when the government said it would implement the recommendations of the Committee of Museums made in 2007.