Curved aluminium fins wrap the undulating exterior of Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong

The performing arts venue by Revery Architecture merges art, traditional theatre and heritage, allowing Chinese opera to continue to evolve with contemporary technology.

by Jincy Iype Published on : Nov 05, 2019

Astutely weaving tradition into a contemporary setting, Xiqu Centre is the latest prestigious landmark in Hong Kong. The centre aims at promoting Xiqu – the primary genre of indigenous Chinese theatre – and the production, education and research of this traditional art form.

Designed by award-winning Canadian studio Revery Architecture in collaboration with Ronald Lu & Partners Ltd, the performing arts venue opened earlier this year, receiving eye balls for its dramatic curvilinear façade.

Conceptualised as a cultural sanctuary, the Xiqu Centre merges art, theatre and the region’s dynamic public realm, in its seven-storey venue. Chronicling the Chinese Moon Gate motif in its striking design, the space is now an abode for traditional Chinese opera, standing as a stunning gateway to the city’s new precinct for culture and arts – the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).

The Xiqu Centre weaves tradition in a contemporary setting | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
The Xiqu Centre weaves tradition in a contemporary setting Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

At dusk, the glowing envelope is redolent of lanterns glinting behind a beaded stage curtain, akin to the type used in traditional theatre. The metal panels woven into the façade are gently pulled back at the four corners of Xiqu Centre, and some pulled open at various locations, mimicking the movement of swaying curtains, and arresting the attention of onlookers. These intriguing openings across the elevations appear as light boxes, reminiscent of abstract art works from Xiqu costumes, radiating light outside and providing a glimpse of the inside as well.

Impersonating the movement found in the Xiqu art form as well as qi (flow of energy), the design takes on a curvilinear, flowy form. Qi is expressed abundantly throughout the compound by the curved paths and arched entrances specifically designed around the multi-level circular atrium.

  • The Xiqu Centre’s programme diagram | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    The Xiqu Centre’s programme diagram Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • The curvilinear form is influenced by the movement found in the Xiqu art form as well as qi | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    The curvilinear form is influenced by the movement found in the Xiqu art form as well as qi Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

The fabrication of the elevations was planned to create an effect of a curtain, which resulted in the employment of a modular system of scaled fins, CNC (computer numerical control)-cut from untreated marine-grade aluminium pipe. These are set in an alternate patterned array along the building’s façade, and the aluminium will weather over time to develop a natural patina, creating a rustic aesthetic.

  • An array of untreated marine-grade aluminum employed in the structure’s façade | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    An array of untreated marine-grade aluminum employed in the structure’s façade Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
    A modular system of scaled fins | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    A modular system of scaled fins Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Full scale mockup of façade element | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Full scale mock-up of façade element Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Axonometric diagram of façade assembly| Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Axonometric diagram of façade assembly Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

The visitors at the Xiqu Centre’s interior courtyard space can enjoy exhibitions, demonstrations, stalls and workshops, which render and promote Xiqu’s rich heritage and cultural traditions. The Centre’s astounding 1,073-seat Grand Theatre is suspended at the top of the building (27m off the ground), which resulted in smooth internal configuration of the plaza and atrium space. This also facilitated in secluding the auditorium from added ambient noise from its surrounding urban setting – an inventive decision, which enabled safe and timely construction within and below the space at the same time. 

  • Inside the suspended Grand Theatre of the Xiqu Centre | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Inside the suspended Grand Theatre of the Xiqu Centre Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Full scale mockup of façade element | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    The Grand Theatre - interior mock-up Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

The elevated theatre is flanked by two alfresco sky gardens, with panoramic views of Victoria Harbour and the city beyond. The suspended theatre also generates space underneath for a Tea House theatre of 200 seats, rehearsal studios, education and administrative spaces, lecture rooms, and retail areas overlooking the naturally-ventilated central, inner courtyard.

  • 01 min watch Time lapse of the construction of Grand Theatre | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Time lapse of the construction of Grand Theatre Video Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Xiqu Centre - facade construction | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Xiqu Centre - facade construction Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

This sparkling cultural centre is freely accessible to public, fostering organic interaction inside and outside the complex. The futuristic design of the Xiqu Centre meshes with traditional Chinese art, lending to the vibrant spirit of Hong Kong.

  • Ground Floor Plan | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Ground Floor Plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • First Floor Plan | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    First Floor Plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Second Floor Plan | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Second Floor Plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Fourth Floor Plan | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Fourth Floor Plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Fifth Floor Plan | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Fifth Floor Plan Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • Entrance and South Elevations | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    Entrance and South Elevations Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture
  • East and West Elevations | Xiqu Centre | Revery Architecture | STIRworld
    East and West Elevations Image Credit: Courtesy of Revery Architecture

Project Details

Name: Xiqu Centre
Location: Hong Kong, China
Year of completion: 2019
Architect: Revery Architecture
Programme: Performance Venue

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