WEST KOWLOON CULTURAL DISTRICT BREAKS GROUND ON FIRST VENUE THE XIQU CENTRE
Hong Kong, China. Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (“WKCDA”), announced at a ground breaking ceremony for the Xiqu Centre that construction for the West Kowloon Cultural District, one of the world’s largest cultural development projects, has begun. The Xiqu Centre will be the first major performing arts venue to open within the District, scheduled for completion in 2016.
Designed by BTA & RLP Company Limited, a joint venture partnership between Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners (Hong Kong) Ltd, the Xiqu Centre will be a world-class facility for the preservation, development and promotion of Chinese opera, making the art form accessible to new audiences. The Centre will provide a platform for Xiqu communities to interact and produce the finest examples of Cantonese and other Chinese opera performances and international cultural programming.
The exterior of the building resembles the curtain of a theatre stage and embodies important concepts from the art form in its design principles: a gateway and performance pavilion; a courtyard; nature and the urban landscape; and a journey of transition and flow, or ‘qi’, expressed with curvilinear paths and forms.
Spread across 7 storeys and over 23,700 sqm, the concept of a gateway is embodied in the siting of the building, with all four corners of the site positioned to welcome visitors to this eastern entrance of the District. The Centre will house a 1,100-seat main theatre and a tea house with a performance stage, in addition to 2,000 sqm of arts education facilities, and generous public space which will be able to host small performances and events.
Sustainability forms an important element in the design of the Centre. By using architectural and engineering solutions, the Xiqu Centre strives not only for lower energy consumption but also lower capital and running costs.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs Carrie Lam said,
Commenting on the event, Mr Michael Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA, said,
Leading up to the opening of the Xiqu Centre, WKCDA launched a flagship annual programme, the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre, during Chinese New Year in 2012. Temporary bamboo structures built with traditional techniques housed a series of performances from Cantonese opera to Chinese dance and contemporary music, which were accompanied by exhibitions and a festive fair. In 2013 the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre attracted more than 100,000 people over a three-week period, and it will make a return in January and February 2014.
In addition to actively promoting performances of Xiqu, WKCDA initiated the Xiqu Centre Seminar Series earlier this year. The series is intended to stimulate insightful discussions about the art form, and to provide a platform for veteran artists and experts from different Chinese theatrical performance genres to engage in dialogue and share their practice and knowledge with the public.
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