The HK Central Library
Opened – 2001
Designer – Architectural Services Department (HK)
Construction Costs – HKD 690mil


Photo credit: SCMP, 29 May 2014


The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Opened – 1997
Designer – Frank Gehry  
Construction Costs – HKD 780mil

Photo credit: Paesi–


Bilbao was once a relatively unknown, sleepy town in Spain.  But with the creation of The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, it has put Bilbao on the design map of the world.   
It is today the second most visited museum in Spain. 
In 1998, just one year after the opening of The Guggenheim Museum, visitors to Bilbao reached 1.36mil, triple the attendance of previous years.  In addition to this, within the first year, the Museum generated almost USD 200mil in tourism revenue, creating an economic multiplier for Bilbao itself benefitting those who work and have businesses in Bilbao.   

HK’s Central Library was built just 4 years after The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao at approximately the same costs. Although these 2 buildings serve different purposes, it’s hard not to compare.     

Perhaps looking back and thinking “what if” is not the best thing….so let’s look forward….we have the exciting West Kowloon Cultural District to look forward to.