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A museum in Hong Kong has been crowned winner of the Asia Pacific region"s New Culture Destinations of the Year title at the 2018 Leading Culture Destinations Awards in London.
Tai Kwun finished ahead in the region of Design Society in Shekou,within the Chinese mainland city of Shenzhen, and Tokyo"s Yayoi Kusama Museum.
Tai Kwun is a new center for heritage and arts that opened in May in a former police station complex in the Central district of Hong Kong. The project was described as the biggest restoration work ever undertaken in Hong Kong.
The police complex was decommissioned in 2006. Tai Kwun means "big station" in Cantonese and was the colloquial name for the former law enforcement complex.
Two new contemporary buildings were designed by leading architects Herzog & de Meuron for the project. The new center will host between six and eight exhibitions a year, as well as performing arts shows.
The original complex was built between 1864 and 1925 and comprises 16 historic buildings grouped under the police station, including the former Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison.
"From when we opened in May, to today, we have had over 900,000 visitors, so it"s quite a feat, it"s very popular," said Cheung Leong, executive director of Charities and Community at The Hong Kong Jockey Club, which runs Tai Kwun. "For the last 170 years, it was never opened to the public. It was a police station, a court, and prison. The general public couldn"t go in and walk around. So, there"s a lot of curiosity and a lot of mystery inside this building."
Florian Wupperfeld, co-founder of Leading Culture Destinations, said: "To bring in Hertz & de Meron, from an architectural perspective, is very interesting…Tai Kwun has a good balance in telling a story that reflects Hong Kong. It is a place that brings people together, not isolates them."
The Hangzhou Low Carbon Science and Technology Museum was shortlisted in the Climate Smart Award category, losing to India"s The Science Express.
Now in its fifth year, the Leading Culture Destinations Awards, dubbed the Oscars for museums, recognizes achievements by organizations and cities that have effectively engaged in culture and tourism, including museums, galleries, and creative projects.
The top overall prize for Leading Culture Destination of the Year went to South Africa"s new African contemporary art museum, Zeitz MOCAA.
Other awards handed out at the London event included honors for restaurants, shops, exhibition spaces, and architecture.