The Xiqu Center, part of the West Kowloon Cultural District, will be designed by the collaborative team of Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners. The Cultural District will comprise 17 venues aimed toward the preservation and promotion of Chinese performance arts; this first project will be a venue for Xiqu—a form of Chinese opera—while also serving as a gateway into the proposed arts hub.
With 13,800 square meters of site, the Xiqu Center will offer ample public leisure space in addition to its two theaters, training facilities, and Tea House. The two theaters will accommodate audiences of 400 and 1,100, respectively, while the Tea House will offer more intimate experiences for up to 280 people. Performances at the Xiqu Center will promote education of cultural heritage while drawing new audiences to this form of opera.
The partnership between Bing Thom, AIA, and Ronald Lu, FAIA, brings both experience and cultural resonance to the Xiqu Center. Both architects were born in Hong Kong, and, though Thom’s current practice is based in Vancouver, he expressed the meaningfulness of this commission: “[Xiqu] holds a special place in my heart,” Thom said in a press release. “[It’s] a true homecoming for me—my first building in my birthplace.”
As a preview of cultural acts yet to come, the District has held performances of the West Kowloon Bamboo Theater on the site of the future Xiqu Center, and will continue to hold pop-up exhibitions and shows until the Xiqu Center and the nearby M+ museum—which will house a modern collection within 62,000 square meters of gallery space—are finished. The design team, which was selected by a jury, anticipates project completion in 2016.