The major art hubs coming to fruition in 2021

Lauren Hill


A new arts hub in Jeddah, Moscow’s forthcoming arts institution, the transformation of a historic landmark in Berlin, and sprawling space dedicated to visual culture in Hong Kong; these are some of the culturally significant art hubs coming to fruition in 2021 as the coming year sees several long-awaited art galleries open across the world. Look ahead to what you’ll be able to experience once these new art sites begin to welcome the public in.

GES-2, Moscow

Slated to open in the first half of 2021, GES-2 gives new life to a disused 1907-built power station that once supplied the Kremlin with its energy. The listed building, which is owned by art foundation V-A-C, is now on track to becoming a major new contemporary arts site combining the history of its building with the city’s creative energy. The world-renowned architectural practice Renzo Piano Building Workshop has led the transformation of this sprawling site, which altogether spans 20,000sqm. When it opens, this space will comprise an indoor amphitheatre-like stage along with several galleries, a library, glass-fronted playhouse, which overlooks a birch tree grove, as well as a learning centre and art residency area. Other visitor facilities will include a restaurant, café, shop and, eventually, a pier at the front of the building for anyone accessing the museum by boat. Former vodka warehouses will then be the new venue for creative workshops in specialisms such as 3D printing, ceramics and textiles. The forthcoming arts hub is located on the Bolotnaya Embankment of the Red October district in Moscow.

Hayy:Creative Hub, Jeddah

Through its endeavour to support creative communities across the Middle East, the arts organisation Art Jameel has created a soon-to-debut mixed-use arts hub in Jeddah. A first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, the site is designed to promote wider public interaction with art, music, architecture and film, as well as local innovation. Taking its name ‘Hayy’ from the Arabic word meaning ‘living’, the creative hub is modelled to replicate a neighbourhood, covering 17,000sqm of Jeddah’s Al Muhammadiyah district. On opening, this district will accommodate a number of partnership organisations such as performance venues, galleries and cafes. These will then sit alongside a theatre, event space and a collection of artist studios. An arts centre, which is to be run by Art Jameel, will then host additional local and international exhibitions. The design firm Waiwai was tasked with bringing all of these cultural experiences into one space, creating a neighbourhood with shaded terraces, walkways and internal courtyards. After opening in 2021, Hayy:Creative Hub aims to bring together and nurture artists while also providing a platform for Saudi Arabia’s creative talent.

Humboldt Forum, Berlin

Described as a new landmark for the city, Berlin’s newly completed Humboldt Forum is preparing to open to the public in spring 2021 following an online launch at the end of 2020. As an organisation, the Humboldt Forum brings together several cultural and scientific institutions, taking its name from the German constitution that guarantees freedom of art and science. This building in the historical and cultural heart of Berlin combines the reconstructed Baroque facades of the Berlin Palace, which was originally built by architect Andreas Schluter, with contemporary new elements. Its re-imagination was led by Italian architect Franco Stella to create a link between tradition and modernity. New urban spaces in this soon-to-open development include courtyards, a large square and contemporary interpretations of the Palace Terraces with a grove of trees and 13,000 plants from Eurasia, South and North America. The main entrance has an impressive 33-metre-high reconstructed triumphal arch and a large high-ceilinged foyer leading to the site’s modern exhibition and event space.

Stefan Falk

M+ Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s new museum of visual culture M+ is currently planned for completion in autumn 2021. A part of the West Kowloon Cultural District, this new arts hub will focus on art, design, architecture and moving image, as well as Hong Kong visual culture from the 20th and 21st centuries. Even though the permanent home for M+ is yet to open, the organisation itself is already an active part of the art world and has been producing programming such as exhibitions, talks, workshops and screenings since 2012. Events are held online and at venues around Hong Kong on a continual basis. On completion, the M+ permanent site will become one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture across the world. A structure designed by architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron will comprise 17,000sqm of exhibition space, a lecture theatre and learning hub, as well as three cinemas, performance spaces, a museum shop, café, mediatheque and public roof terrace with views over the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour.

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