CTF Museum is a brand new contemporary art museum in Hong Kong. Designed by New York-based architecture firm SO- IL for the CTF (Chow Tai Fook) Collection, the museum has the ambition to pave the way for the thriving of contemporary art in the city. Glass, a fairly traditional material, plays a significant role in the innovative design response to the project context: a museum that sits in a mix-used environment and adjacent to commercial spaces.
Typical museums are closed volumes unable to engage with the often hyper-urban environment that surrounds them. Simply embracing transparency would also implicate the museum in commercialized city space. Our experimental solution to envelop the floating museum with a facade made of glass tubes 30 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter, each weighing two tons. From the street, the sculptural monumentality and visual distortion created by the tight curvature of glass generates an abstraction, separating the museum from its chaotic context. Yet up close, the glass still makes its contents clear to visitors.
Using a fairly classic material, glass, the museum defines a new type of iconography. Instead of a curtain wall, the facade of the museum consists of some 475 enclosed glass cylinders. The monolithic glass cylinders are the first of their kind; each piece formed in a specially-built autoclave in Spain. This design enables the museum to outstand from its context even viewed from afar. It creates the transparency that is rarely seen on the facade of cultural institutions -- a deliberate expression that the building itself is on display. The glass also helps to differentiate the interior from the rest of the building. With the monumental transparency provided by the glass tubes, the museum space is able to offer a "reset" to visitors when they arrive from the bustle below.