Curled aluminium

Canadian studio Revery Architecture presented a surreal building for an opera house in Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District.
20 February, 2019
Enveloped with curved aluminium ribs with wavy patterns the music center will defiantly become the major attraction and a landmark. This project was executed in collaboration with local firm Ronald Lu & Partners.
The eight-story opera house is the latest addition to the West Kowloon Cultural District located on the seashore. "Xiqu Centre is Hong Kong's prestigious new home for traditional Chinese opera and creates a landmark entrance at the gateway to the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), the city's new hub for arts and culture," mentioned Revery Architecture in a project description. Apart from serving as a house for the Chinese opera, the complex also includes a restaurant, a 200-seat theatre, studios, rehearsal spaces, educational and administrative areas, lecture rooms and retail spaces.

Xiqu Centre's exterior consists of several modules of curved forms. Each was cut from untreated aluminium using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine. The result of such a design solution is a dynamic facade that looks like ripples across the water or numerous pieces of Chinese silk cloth.

Images: Dezeen
The aluminium forms huge woven panels around the opera house that are pulled back at each of the four corners in the ground floor to create entrances to the 29,72- square-metre cultural complex.

The building's interior is also unusual and attracts attention. Apart from the circular, multi-height atrium, there are hundreds of narrow crevices and multi-level paths that ease the circulation around the building for the visitors

The ceiling reveals some parts of an elevated theatre above, which is lifted 27 metres off the ground to open up the lower levels. The hall accommodates 1,073 seats within a dark, dimly lit space that starkly contrasts with the rest of the project. The acoustics of the auditorium are further isolated from the urban movement and ambient noise below that surround the site.

Images: Dezeen
Hong Kong's Xiqu Centre was specially constructed to promote and preserve the heritage of Xiqu-Chinese opera, the primary genre of indigenous Chinese theatre.

When designing the building, Revery Architecture used four guiding principles. First and foremost was the element of Qi, meaning energy flow and movement, which is expressed throughout the façade and interior with curvilinear paths and forms.

Images: Dezeen
Elevation and two rooftop gardens are incorporated into the design in relation to the second principle of nature – a common feature of Chinese opera's traditional outdoor theatrical performances.

The third factor was the need for a courtyard to China's traditional marketplace heritage. In response, Xiqu Centre has a large, sheltered public plaza as a gathering space.

The concept of the opera house as a hub provided the final guiding principle and resulted in the building's open, doorless design. Light also comes from inside the spacious circular atrium.

Banner image: Dezeen