SAUSALITO, Calif. & HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Working in conjunction with leading Canadian Architect Bing Thom, SWA Group and the design team are working on the first building and gateway to one of the world’s largest cultural infrastructure projects, the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) in Hong Kong.
The result of a high profile international design competition, the Xiqu Centre will be the first of 17 arts and cultural venues to be opened within the new West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) and will symbolize the importance and rich heritage of Xiqu (also called Chinese opera). The centre is conceived to support and promote Xiqu as a contemporary art form making it accessible to new audiences and keeping this remarkable piece of Asian heritage alive for future generations. A cultural sanctuary, blending theatre, art and public space, the centre will be a place for contemplation and celebration. Like the soft glow of a lantern behind a bead curtain, the Xiqu Centre will light up the Eastern entrance of the West Kowloon Cultural District and act as a lantern for Hong Kong.
As a result of an international design competition for the Chinese Opera Centre, the commission was awarded to Bing Thom Architects in joint venture with Hong Kong-based Ronald Lu & Partners. Completion is planned late 2016.
SWA Group is providing landscape architecture design for the site comprising of a prime area of 13,800 square metres (148,500 square feet) at the eastern edge of the WKCD. Located on the corner of Canton Road and Austin Road West, the centre will provide a high profile gateway to this ambitious new cultural district.
The architecture incorporates a generous amount of public leisure space and training and education facilities, as well as two high calibre auditoria for 1,100 and 400 seats (the latter to be developed in phase 2) and a traditional Tea House for performances for audiences of up to 280. A major public plaza will be the ground-base setting and 'Urban Stage' for the iconic theater complex.
Xiqu (Chinese opera) is a form of performing arts which integrates singing, acting, speech, martial arts, gongs and drums, strings, costume and body movement. Today, more than 200 genres of Xiqu are performed on stage. The best known genres including Kunqu, Cantonese opera and Beijing opera, were added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2001, 2009 and 2010 respectively.
The CEO of The West Kowloon Cultural District, Michael Lynch said, “This building is conceived to become the leading centre for Xiqu globally, a major facility for the preservation and development of the art form in Hong Kong which will represent a benchmark internationally of quality and practice.
Added John Wong, SWA Group, “It's an honor and an exciting opportunity and challenge to help shape the Cultural District, and integrate the project seamlessly into the city while collaborating and supporting the project team in the creation of Xiqu Center.”
About SWA Group
SWA Group (www.swagroup.com) established in 1957, is an international landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm. SWA has offices in Sausalito, CA, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, CA, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates. Since its inception, SWA Group has worked in over 60 countries, and its projects have garnered more than 700 awards.