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Competition winning Kowloon art venue starts on site

The formal start of construction of Bing Thom Architects’ Xiqu Centre has been hailed as a ‘defining moment’ for the troubled West Kowloon Cultural District

The groundbreaking ceremony for the first major performing arts venue to get underway at the development was held this week.

The seven-storey Xiqu Centre, which will mark the eastern entrance to the district, will house a 1,100-seat main theatre and a tea house with a performance stage. It will also feature education, leisure, retail and dining facilities.

Canadian-based Bing Thom Architects, in conjunction with Ronald Lu of Hong Kong, saw off the likes of Foster + Partners and Mecanoo to design the scheme.

The beginning of construction marks a significant moment for the wider cultural district, which had troubled beginnings.

A masterplan by Foster + Partners was scrapped in 2006, only for the London-based firm to win a replacement competition in 2011.

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chief executive Michael Lynch said this week: ‘After extensive public engagement and the planning process, the West Kowloon Cultural District has now got off the drawing board and is being turned into reality.

‘It has been a whole community effort and, upon achieving this important milestone, I look forward to the continued support of the public and stakeholders in making the vision of the West Kowloon Cultural District come true, and hope to enjoy the remarkable performances in the Xiqu Centre with them in a few years’ time.’

The Xiqu Centre is scheduled for completion in 2016.

In June, Terry Farrell, in collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron, won the contest to design the cultural district’s 60,000m² M+ museum.

Previous story (10.12.12)

Canadian/Hong Kong team beats stars to win Kowloon art venue

Canadian-based practice Bing Thom Architects with Ronald Lu of Hong Kong has seen off the likes of Foster + Partners and Mecanoo to design one of the first buildings within the West Kowloon Cultural District

The team was chosen to mastermind the ‘landmark’ Xiqu (Chinese opera) Centre - among 17 arts venues planned for the £1.7 billion waterside district in Hong Kong - ahead of an international shortlist of stars.

Due to open in 2016, the centre will sit on a 13,800 m square metres at the eastern edge of the District on the corner of Canton Road and Austin Road West and will

Hong Kong-born Bing Thom, 72, of Bing Thom Architects said: ‘The commission for Hong Kong holds a special place in my heart, a true homecoming for me - my first building in my birthplace. It is an honour to return to design a home for this most authentic Chinese performing art, the first building for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

‘The world is fast becoming a blend of Eastern and Western cultures and Hong Kong captures this magic by nurturing and celebrating Xiqu tradition. The Xiqu Centre design is a contemporary expression of a traditional Chinese opera building to show our wonderful art form to the world. The West Kowloon Cultural District gives Hong Kong talent its world stage.’

See below for full shortlist

Previous story (17.07.2012)

Foster and Mecanoo among finalists for Kowloon art venue

Foster + Partners and Dutch stars Mecanoo have been named on an impressive five-strong shortlist to design one of the first buildings within the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong

The Xiqu Centre is among 17 arts venues planned for the £1.7 billion masterplan, which is also being overseen by Foster + Partners (see AJ 04.03.2011), and will house a 1,100-seat theatre, an additional 400-seat venue and a Tea House for smaller performances.

The full shortlist:

  • Bing Thom Architects, Vancouver with Ronald Lu and Partners, Hong Kong
  • Foster + Partners, UK with O Studio Architects, Hong Kong
  • Mecanoo architecten with Leigh & Orange
  • Safdie Architects
  • Wong & Ouyang, Hong Kong with Diamond and Schmitt, Toronto

More than 50 architectural teams from around the globe bid for the project which is due to complete at the end of 2015.

The teams were shortlisted by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA), helped by an independent professional advisor and a jury panel and supported by an independent steering committee.

Louis Yu, the WKCDA’s executive director of performing arts, said: ‘There has been a fantastic response to our plans for the Xiqu Centre from design teams from across the world. We are working hard to find the right team to work with to fulfill our ambitions.

‘The shortlisted teams will meet with representatives of the Chinese opera artform, engaging with stakeholders so we can conceive together a world-class building for Hong Kong and for the development and promotion of this important form of Chinese cultural heritage.’

The finalist will each receiving £80,000 to develop their proposals.

Other venues/buildings still to be designed:

Phase one

  • A ‘freespace’ with an outdoor stage
  • The initial stage of M+, a museum of 20th-21st century visual culture
  • A lyric theatre
  • A centre for contemporary performance
  • Medium Theatre I
  • A music centre with a concert and recital Hall
  • A musical Theatre
  • A ‘mega’ performance venue and an Exhibition Centre
  • A host of ancillary facilities including a resident company centre, other creative learning facilities and a number of arts pavilions for visual arts exhibitions will also be constructed in this phase.

Phase two

  • The Great Theatre
  • A small theatre as part of the Xiqu Centre,
  • Medium theatre II
  • Phase II of the M+ development.

Masterpan image by dbox branding & creative


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