The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) has broken ground on the $350m Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong’s £1.7bn cultural district.
Xiqu Centre will be the first of the 17 core arts and cultural buildings that are planned to be built in the West Kowloon Cultural District, which is scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Designed by Bing Thom Architects together with Ronald Lu & Partners, the seven-storey centre will be located on a 13,800m² site at the eastern edge of the cultural district on the corner of Canton Road and Austin Road West.
The centre will feature a 1,100-seat main theatre, public leisure space, 2,000m² of training and education facilities and a traditional tea house for performances with seating capacity up to 280.
WKCDA chairman Carrie Lam said that the centre was designed with sustainability in mind.
"Through ingenious architectural and engineering solutions, energy consumption as well as capital and operating costs of the Xiqu Centre can be lowered," Lam said.
"The Xiqu Centre is the first landmark performing arts venue of the District that underlines the importance the government attaches to supporting the development of Cantonese opera, a spectacular art form in Hong Kong."
The cultural district is being developed in a 40ha site based on a master plan designed by the UK-based architectural firm Foster + Partners in March 2011.
The Xiqu Centre and M+ museum form part of the first phase of the development.
Scheduled to open in 2017, the museum will feature 15,000m² of exhibition space, 14,000m² for conservation and storage, an education centre, an archive library and bookstore, theatres and screen facilities, artist-in-residence studios and outdoor green spaces.
Image: The Xiqu Centre will feature 2,000m² of training and education facilities as well as two auditoria. Photo: courtesy of Bing Thom Architects.