SUHANYA RAFFEL: M+ is a new museum of visual culture in Hong Kong, currently under construction, ready for the public within a year and a half. This is an extraordinary opportunity. A piece of cultural infrastructure like no other in the world.
DUNCAN PESCOD: We’ve reached the top floor of the top of the building. It’s an important first step towards that final opening push and that gives us the opportunity really to make a change from being a construction project to a development and delivery project.
VICTOR LO CHUNG-WING: [Translated from Cantonese] Welcome to today’s topping-out ceremony of the M+ building. This is a major milestone in the development of M+ as a world-class modern and contemporary museum of visual culture and a defining cultural institution.
LO KA-YIN: We could not decide on a name of the museum. Then we said, a 'museum plus', which is so original. And today we are topping [out] and in this beautiful weather. And we look very much forward to the opening and the premier museum in the Asia Pacific.
DORYUN CHONG: So this is the back.
PI LI: Yeah.
DORYUN CHONG: Okay. Yeah, that looks about right.
ISABELLA TAM: [Translated from Cantonese] We are here for a site visit today as we’re currently planning the opening exhibition. We’ve been visualising the gallery and studying the floor plan for many years. Finally, today we are here to visit the site and see if what we have envisioned on paper is different to how we feel about the space in person. After the site visit, we hope to have a better understanding of how to plan and design the space more accurately in the future.
DORYUN CHONG: It’s always good to see the real spaces because we’ve been looking at the floor plan for almost five years. It’s gigantic. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
FUNG TAK ON: [Translated from Cantonese] Fair-faced concrete refers to concrete that is left unfinished, to express a pattern imprinted by its formwork. There are two types of fair-faced concrete here. One with the rather common board-marked concrete and one with a more unique wood pattern.
HO TAT MAN: [Translated from Cantonese] The architect requires smooth surfaces. When the polishing is done, we apply a mould release agent to the wood. This whole process is rarely seen on construction sites. It’s the first time in my life that I have done it.
FUNG TAK ON: [Translated from Cantonese] I definitely want to finish this job and one day return to see what I’ve achieved.
LIN SIU-MUN: The M+ [building facade] is so special because the facade [is] not [made of] typical materials like the ones we use in Hong Kong. Normally it’s aluminium and glass. Our facade is a precast unit with ceramic tiles in a modular system and it also serves as a sunshade to the office tower. Whereas the podium facade is an enclosed design to provide an optimum environment for the gallery.
VERONICA CASTILLO: The building that was developed actually became two parts:, the main building, where the galleries are, and the Conservation & Storage Facility. It is a building that will basically house the collection when it’s not on display. It’s also combined with the conservation laboratories, which are the areas where conservators, who are the doctors of the art, will be actually taking care, the physical care, of the object.
SUHANYA RAFFEL: This location on West Kowloon, facing Hong Kong Island is the postcard view of Hong Kong. So, for us, to be making a museum on this site brings a whole other level of understanding about what Hong Kong is now delivering to the world and to Hong Kong.