9 March 2012
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Announces Design Competition for its First Arts Venue
The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) launched today a design competition to deliver one of the first landmark buildings for the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Xiqu Centre. The Chinese opera venue will provide a world-class facility for the preservation and development of the art form in Hong Kong and will be designed to host and produce the finest examples of Cantonese and other Chinese opera performances.
The Xiqu Centre, scheduled for completion around the end of 2015, will be the first of 17 core arts and cultural venues to be opened within the District and one of 15 proposed performing arts venues. Occupying a prime site at the eastern edge of the District on the corner of Canton Road and Austin Road West, the centre will provide a gateway of access to the Cultural District. The competition covers the design of a 1,100-seat main theatre, a 400-seat small theatre, a Tea House for performances for audiences up to 200 and ancillary training and education facilities.
Michael Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of WKCDA said, "The competition heralds a new phase of the West Kowloon Cultural District development. We are proceeding to a detailed design stage and I am looking forward to working with inspired creative teams on the realisation of our ambitions for the Cultural District."
"Following the fantastic response to the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre performances at the start of the Year of Dragon, we know Chinese Opera has a special place in the heart of Hong Kong people. We want to find a design team that can deliver for Hong Kong a world-class home for Chinese Opera practitioners, students and audiences and a facility fitting for such an important form of Chinese cultural heritage"
A Steering Committee, chaired by Mr Lee Shing-see, a member of WKCDA's Development Committee, and made up of representatives of professional institutes and arts and culture disciplines, has been appointed to oversee the competition.
Interested parties can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to WKCDA to pre-qualify for the design competition. The selection process of the design/ design consultant is set out at Annex. Deadline for submission is April 10, 2012. Further details are available on WKCDA's website (http://www.wkcda.hk/en/architectural_competition/xiqucentre).
In due course the design teams who are shortlisted will be invited to submit schematic designs of their concepts. Entries from the shortlisted teams will be examined by a Jury Panel together with assessment through interviews. The selected team will be recommended to the Development Committee and the Board for appointment.
WKCDA also issued today an invitation for Expression of Interest for Theatre Planning and Acoustic Sub-consultants to work alongside the chosen design team.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is the largest cultural project in Hong Kong to date. Its vision is to provide a vibrant cultural quarter for the city; a vital platform for the local arts scene to interact, develop and collaborate; and major facilities to host and produce world-class exhibitions, performances and arts and cultural events.
The District will include 17 core arts and cultural venues and 30,000 square metres of space for arts education. It will be a low-density development, providing ample open green space and embracing two kilometres of a vibrant harbour-front promenade, 23 hectares of open space and a green avenue, and closely connected with the neighbourhood.
The project will be developed in phases. The venues to be commissioned in Phase 1 include the Xiqu Centre (main theatre and Tea House), a Freespace with an outdoor stage, phase I of M+ (a museum of 20th-21st century visual culture), a Lyric Theatre, a Centre for Contemporary Performance, Medium Theatre I, a Music Centre with a Concert and Recital Hall, a Musical Theatre, a Mega Performance Venue and an Exhibition Centre. A host of ancillary facilities including a Resident Company Centre, other creative learning facilities and a number of Arts Pavilions for visual arts exhibitions will also be constructed in this phase. Phase 2 will involve the commissioning of the Great Theatre, a small theatre as part of the Xiqu Centre, Medium Theatre II and phase II of the M+ development.
The development plan was submitted to the Town Planning Board for consideration in December 2011. Construction works are scheduled for commencement in 2013.
WKCDA's first cultural event was the West Kowloon Bamboo Theatre which was staged at the future site of the Xiqu Centre near Canton Road during the Chinese New Year in 2012.
Xiqu (Chinese Opera)
Xiqu, also called Chinese Opera, is a form of performing arts which integrates singing, acting, speech, martial arts, gongs and drums, strings, costume and body movement. Xiqu performers make use of symbolic gestures and facial expression to portray the characters and communicate with the audience. According to statistics in 1950s, there were originally 360 forms of Xiqu in China. Today, more than 200 genres are still performed on stage. The best known genres including Kunqu, Cantonese Opera and Beijing Opera, were added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2001, 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Cantonese Opera is the first world intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong. In recent years, the number of Cantonese Opera performances and operatic song concerts has increased to over one thousand per year, with attendance figures for Chinese Opera performances ranked highest among the four major types of performing arts (theatre, music, dance and Xiqu).
Selection Process of the Design/ Design Consultant for the Xiqu Centre