A sparkling showcase

Balancing time, beauty and budget on the Hong Kong Palace Museum



A ceramic headrest made more than a millennia ago, a jade imperial seal from the Qing dynasty, and a poem written on paper by Emperor Huizong in the 11th century… Such treasured objects demand a building of rare beauty to match, and the new Hong Kong Palace Museum does not disappoint.

Designed by renowned Hong Kong architect Rocco Yim, the seven-storey museum is a fresh, contemporary interpretation of Chinese culture – and RLB offered fresh perspectives to bring this building to life.

With a 17,000 sqm footprint and a total floor area of around 44,000 sqm, the museum boasts nine galleries, a 400-seat auditorium, activity rooms, restaurants, shops and offices. The stunning façade resembles an ancient Chinese cauldron while the three atriums echo the spatial configuration of the Forbidden City’s central axis.

At a glance

  • Client
    West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
  • Services
    Commercial Success
  • sector
    Public & Civic
  • Location
    Hong Kong, China

Keeping time on a timeless building

The grand opening of the Hong Kong Palace Museum – scheduled for July 2022 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR. Time was always of the essence. So, when the global pandemic threatened the tight schedule, RLB worked closely and collaboratively with the project team to reduce and recover delays.

To bring the Hong Kong Palace Museum to life, RLB drew on our experience working on some of the world’s most iconic and innovative public buildings. We were proud to balance time, beauty and budget on this spectacular building.
Patrick Chan, Director, RLB

RLB’s resident site quantity surveyor was always on hand to provide advice on major cost or contractual issues. This allowed the project team to make informed and immediate evaluations of design changes or solutions, speeding up the workflow process. This brought Hong Kong Palace Museum topped out in June 2020 and met the deadline for completion.

Accelerating accuracy

To achieve its trapezoidal shape, the building adopts composite columns and roof slab which is heavier than a traditional design. The façade consists of more than 4,000 decorative aluminium curved panels, all of different shapes, patterns and curvature.

With a unique shape and configuration, the project team turned to advanced building information modelling. BIM improved the accuracy and efficiency of drawings, which in turn accelerated the detailed design process and allowed installation at speed and at the highest level of quality.

  • 7,800
    across nine galleries900
  • 900
    pieces of art and antiquities
  • 7
    backed by the Hong Kong Island skyline and Lantau Island

Priceless art connects people and cultures

The precious objects on display will consist of 914 pieces from the Palace Museum in Beijing, its biggest loan to a cultural institution outside mainland China. Exhibit pieces loaned from the Louvre Museum in Paris are a testimony to cultural and knowledge exchange between the people of China and other countries. The building’s clever, contemporary design allows curators to tell new stories about ancient objects, relating them to modern life and inspiring the next generation.

Ancient treasures, advanced technology

Many of treasures held in the Hong Kong Palace Museum may be ancient, but tomorrow’s technology is used to protect and preserve them, and to create great places for people. Take the dust-free control and air conditioning stabilisation systems, which maintain a dust free environment and controls humidity and room temperature. Or take the LED cinema screen in the theatre – a new product with backlit LED panels which saves space when compared to traditional projection – leaving more comfortable visual effect for visitors.