Located on the eastern edge of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, the stunning, award-winning Xiqu Centre is an unmissable icon for the district and for all of Hong Kong. Designed by the Joint Venture team of Revery Architecture and Ronald Lu & Partners, the seven-storey building houses a 1,075-seat Grand Theatre, a Tea House Theatre with around 200 seats, eight professional studios and a seminar hall. The Centre was also the final design produced by the master architect Bing Thom.
A unique feature of the building is the suspended Grand Theatre – as well as being visually striking, it is elevated 27 m. above ground to create ample space beneath for a welcoming and fully open atrium, which serves as a public plaza for exhibitions, stalls, and xiqu demonstrations and workshops.
The beauty of traditional Chinese Opera culture is conveyed through the Centre’s moon gate motif and its dynamic, glowing façade – reminiscent of a lantern shimmering behind a beaded stage curtain and comprised of a modular system of scaled fins made from untreated marine-grade aluminium piping and arranged in alternating patterns along the front of the building.
The façade’s woven metal panels are gently pulled back like curtains at all four corners of the building, radiating light to the exterior and enabling a vibrant flow of visitors in and out of the interior courtyard, encouraging them to enjoy exhibitions and demonstrations dedicated to promoting Chinese opera’s rich heritage. The concept of “Qi”, or “flow”, is expressed throughout the complex through curvilinear paths and forms and arched entrances designed around a multi-level circular atrium.
Sustainability considerations were incorporated during the Centre’s design and construction – a construction waste management scheme reduced waste by 60%, while modular components were used throughout: the ceiling and claddings in the public areas are all modular, while the façade is made of interchangeable fins and unitized modules, creating near-zero waste during installation. Regionally-sourced and sustainably-sourced wood-based materials and recycled timber products were also used, further reducing the carbon footprint.
The Centre is highly human-centric: the doorless central plaza is an open, non-air-conditioned space. Through large openings in the façade and a passive ventilation chimney, a natural stack effect makes the plaza temperatures significantly lower the surroundings – providing heat relief to patrons or visitors passing through. Finally, the Centre can be directly accessed from the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and Austin MTR station, and accessible by public transport from all parts of Hong Kong.