Audio description for the M+ Building

The M+ building, which consists of a square-shaped horizontal podium with roof gardens and a tower stretching across the podium's centre, is pictured overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour during sunset.

The M+ Building. © Kevin Mak. Photo: Kevin Mak. Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron


The M+ Building has three main structural components. From top to bottom, they are the vertical tower, the podium, and the foundation. The tower and the podium fuse into the shape of an inverted capital letter ‘T’ from the west or east side view. Visitors will find most of the exhibition spaces inside the podium and the foundation. The entire building is sixteen storeys high and has two basement levels.

The vertical tower measures 66 metres high, 110 metres long, and about 10 metres wide. The longer side of the tower facing the Victoria Harbour has rows of cladding embedded with LED tubes, which together become a gigantic screen as large as the tower face when lit in the evening. Below the tower is the rectangular podium measuring 12 metres high, 110 metres long, and about 130 metres wide, whose area is equivalent to two football fields. In appearance, both the tower and the podium are covered with wavy and cylindrical dark green ceramic tiles. Underneath the podium is the foundation of the museum, which is smaller in size than the podium as a whole. In a way, the podium creates a wide canopy above the foundation that provides shading and rain protection. The exterior of the foundation is mainly bare grey concrete, which creates a strong contrast with the dark green tiles of the tower and podium.

The foundation houses the ground floor and the basement levels. On the ground floor, the foundation has an entrance on each of its sides, and outside some of the entrances are semi-transparent lamps hung from the ceiling. The lampshades measure over one metre in diameter and look like giant, round, thick bowls turned upside down. The design was inspired by the lamps commonly seen in local wet markets. The exterior of the foundation is bare concrete, but starting from the entrances, the walls on the inside are covered with dark green cylindrical ceramic tiles that resemble ringed bamboo stems, as if there’s a dense bamboo grove extending from outdoors to the indoor area.

The entrances lead to the Main Hall on the ground floor, whose ceiling height is higher than seven metres. The flooring is concrete tiles that are embossed with a wood grain pattern. A few tall concrete columns are scattered around the hall, some of which also have a wood grain pattern. The hall has floor-to-ceiling glass walls, two cutaways on the ceiling that connect to the podium, and two cutaways on the floor that open to the basement. Natural light may shine through the skylight windows on the podium’s ceiling to the Main Hall, and also to the two basement levels. Looking down through the cutaways, two giant steps that diagonally cut through the museum building can be seen. This basement level space is named the Found Space. Each of the steps is taller than an adult, and together they are the concrete shelf that covers the Airport Express and Tung Chung Line railway tunnels running across the site.

Going up from the Ground Floor entering the podium, Level 2, is where most galleries are. On this level, rows of fluorescent lights are installed on the ceiling. Unlike the Main Hall, Level 2 has light-coloured wood flooring and white walls. Nine dark brown wooden double doors lead to the gallery spaces. Some of the doors are framed with exhibition graphics in bright colours. At the centre of the level is the spacious Atrium, surrounded by exhibition galleries and an event space named the Grand Stair. In the middle of the Atrium is a white spiral staircase that goes up to Level 3. On the sides of the staircase are two parallel rows of bare concrete columns that mirror each other. The four columns in each row spread horizontally and appear to come in sets of two; one slants towards the left and the other towards the right. These columns are part of the mega-trusses that provide structural support to the entire museum building. To the left and right of the Atrium, in the areas before the surrounding galleries, a cutaway and a skylight window are on each side. Looking up from the Found Space in the basement, the same skylight windows can be seen through the cutaways on the Ground Floor and Level 2.