West Kowloon Cultural District Competition

The West Kowloon Cultural District Competition took place in 2001 to develop a landmark icon on the waterfront incorporating both visual and performing arts facilities at its heart.

In close collaboration with the architect, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander developed a master concept for a cluster of linked performance spaces that incorporated progressive performance systems with functionality. Containing three major performance venues – an opera house with a main rehearsal room, a multi-form courtyard theatre and a multi-form studio theatre – the plan encompassed both fixed and multi-form venues, foyers, concourses and associated technical and performer support spaces.

Designed as a superlative venue for western opera, traditional Chinese opera and dance, classical ballet, contemporary dance, musicals and ceremonial events including state functions, the 2,100-seat opera house’s architectural and technical design also served as a world-class setting for symphonic and choral music. Technological advances enabling performers and scenery to penetrate the proscenium, with a multi-form stage, were conceived to meet the needs of popular entertainment spectaculars while engaging the audience spatially.

The inventive new approach to the configuration of the 800-seat multi-form courtyard theatre offered intimacy and flexibility for the resident drama company, with proscenium, thrust, arena and promenade stage configurations with moveable seating units used in conjunction with audience and stage elevators. The mechanization of the seating provided for rapid and efficient change over from one configuration to another,

Fully supporting music and non-performance uses through minimal manipulation of base theatrical systems, the intimate 500-seat multi-form studio theatre provided a variety of seating options, enhanced by thrust and arena stage configurations.

Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli
Acoustics: Kirkegaard Associates
Size: 40 hectacres