Controversial Palace Museum layout plan leaked

Leaked floor plan reveals undisclosed details of the controversial Palace Museum project


FactWire acquired the layout plan of West Kowloon Cultural District’s Palace Museum project, which reveals the exterior design and allocation of facilities of the eight-storey premises. The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) launched a six-week public consultation and exhibition from January 10 to February 22, and did not present the plan to the public. 

FactWire has verified the authenticity of the layout plan from informed sources. The 16-page layout plan includes floor plans, section and elevation plans as well as a marked key plan of the West Kowloon Cultural District that clearly locates the site where the Palace Museum would be built. The project title is named as “Project P”, affirming FactWire’s previous report revealing the codename for the Palace Museum project. Dated to late December last year, the layout plan is in the early stage of progress. 

The section plan and elevation plan of the Hong Kong Palace Museum shows a trapezoid-shaped structure with a wide upper section and narrow base. According to sources, the exterior of the museum apparently resembles a Chinese “ding”, an ancient cauldron. The structure has a wavy facade made of an external metal mesh cladding, and part of the structure is made of steel. Some floor plan designs include a void. The use of glass walls and skylight provides natural lighting to different floors of the premise. Sources stated that the layout plan is “in the early stage of progress, and structural engineers are currently giving advice on its structural design. However, design consultant Rocco Yim Sen-kee has a more or less finalized concept regarding the exterior design of the museum, so the public consultation probably could only influence the location of facilities within.” 

The museum layout plan includes floor plans of eight levels showing the locations of facilities and galleries. The lower ground floor accommodates a lecture theatre, VIP room, three activity rooms, two restaurants as well as an area connected to driveaways for coach and taxi drop-offs. The ground floor accommodates the main entrance lobby, box office, cloak room, orientation gallery, three activity rooms and shops. The first floor features three imperial life galleries, and the second floor features galleries for painting, ceramics, gold, bronze and jade as well as an atrium and a deck. The third floor includes a digital gallery, a thematic exhibition gallery, a gallery for Hong Kong collection and a deck. The fourth floor contains a thematic exhibition gallery, a deck, a garden, an atrium, a restaurant and other facilities. The fifth floor consists of an acclimatization room, a museum “back of house” for general storage and preparation rooms. The sixth floor contains staff offices and workshop rooms and the roof contains a cooling tower and a skylight.

The WKCDA launched a six-week public consultation and exhibition on the Hong Kong Palace Museum project last Tuesday (January 10) at the City Gallery in Central. The exhibition featured twelve boards introducing the museum, the plan of the West Kowloon Cultural District, the site of the museum, previous projects of Yim’s architectural firm Rocco Design Architects Limited, concepts and functions of the museum, previous cooperations between the Palace Museum in Beijing and Hong Kong, etc. The public consultation has designed a questionnaire, only collecting public views on the facilities, programming, operations, the learning opportunities and interpretation tools of the museum. 

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