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White shifted and circular wings form Henning Larsen-designed auditorium at HKUST in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Architecture News - Nov 23, 2021 - 16:24 1943 views
The project, named Shaw Auditorium, is located at the HKUST's Clear Water Bay campus to provide a highly flexible, acoustically sophisticated auditorium offering bright, generous social spaces to students and the local community.
Designed to create a "living room" for the campus community and a world-class venue for Hong Kong, the structure is composed of three centric shifted floor slabs in which the main auditorium is placed at the heart of the building.
Conceived as an inventive response to a diverse mix of uses, an open, elevated site and the sub-tropical Hong Kong climate, the auditorium stands on the hillside in the south of HKUST’s Clear Water Bay campus, surrounded by orthogonal buildings.
Henning Larsen's design is a bold curved form that marks the building from afar to signal the artistic and cultural activities within.
The building comprises three concentric white rings, interspersed with glazing to reveal panoramic views of Sai Kung Bay. The building has no front or back – it is open and welcoming on all sides.
Designed to be full of life during the day and at night, the building includes comfortable lobbies, café, classrooms and circulation spaces that are conceived as an informal social focus for the campus, where students can meet, study and relax.
"The Shaw Auditorium is more than a special destination for major events – it is part of the everyday life of the campus community," said Henning Larsen.
HKUST is globally renowned for innovation, and the auditorium reflects this in its resolution of technical challenges and inventive use of space. Envisioned as a highly-flexible space, the venue can be adapted to accommodate a wide range of events, from a live orchestra to amplified concerts, talks, gala dinners and exhibitions.
A Henning Larsen highlights, a proscenium can be lowered to frame the stage for theatre and ballet and the rectilinear plan brings the audience close to the performers, creating an intimate atmosphere and optimising acoustics.
The raked seating can be configured to fit 840 or 1,300 seats, or stored to provide an open surface for conferences, open days and exhibitions. Its curved walls can also function as a 360-degree projection screen, enabling immersive audio-visual experiences.
"The challenges of the project were functional and symbolic. The auditorium had to accommodate all these different activities, from seated concerts to gala dinners, and the acoustics had to be pitch-perfect each time. In that sense, it’s a really flexible ‘white box’ space," said Claude Godefroy, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen.
"The architecture also had to express its role as the heart of the cultural and artistic life of the campus."
"Finally, there’s the climatic response – the deep overhangs, which shelter pedestrians, the use of bamboo. We’re proud to see these all come together, and see the auditorium come to life as it welcomes its first students and guests," Godefroy added.
"The building acts as a gateway to the HKUST's campus"
Thanks to its elliptical form, the building directs a natural pedestrian flow inside. Through its strong form, presence and function, the Shaw Auditorium stands at the gateway to the campus, between the academic faculties and neighbouring community – the venue connects the university with its surroundings through the arts.
"Visitors are shaded and sheltered from the rain by the building’s deep cantilevers, which draw on the vernacular colonnades and canopies of Hong Kong’s traditional architecture," continued the architects.
By creating this kind of passive shading, it becomes part of a BEAM Platinum environmental strategy – an impressive achievement for a performance venue, given the fluctuating patterns of use and cooling demands.
For other sustainable features, the strategies include a district cooling system, photovoltaic panels over more than half the roof, a highly efficient façade, lighting control and brushless DC motors fan coil units.
"A smart ventilation Aircuity System also monitors the indoor air quality to ensure sufficient fresh air, using precision sensors to save energy," added the studio.
"Acoustic separation, anti-vibration and noise control measures are in place for all building services equipment. The outer wall of the auditorium is clad in bamboo from a renewable supply, mineral paint has been specified for the white façade and Norwegian wool is used in the acoustic panels."
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Second floor plan
Henning Larsen designed The Shaw Auditorium in close collaboration with local architecture practice Wong Tung and Partners, WSP Hong Kong, Theatreplan, Marshall Day Acoustics, URBIS, Inhabit, CTA and RLB on the project.
Project name: Shaw Auditorium, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Architects: Henning Larsen
Client and Address:
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong’
Construction period: 2019-2021
GFA: 12,800 m2
Lead Consultant and Design Architect: Henning Larsen
Executive Architect: Wong Tung and Partners
Structural Engineer: WSP Hong Kong
MEP Engineer: WSP Hong Kong
Environmental, (BEAM+) cons: WSP Hong Kong
Room and Building Acoustics: Marshall Day Acoustics Hong Kong
Building Acoustics: WSP Hong Kong
Theatre consultant: Theatreplan, UK
Landscape: URBIS, Hong Kong
Façade consultant: Inhabit, Hong Kong
Lighting Designer: Inhabit, Hong Kong
Traffic consultant: CTA, Hong Kong
Visualisations: Henning Larsen
All images © Kris Provoost
All drawings © Henning Larsen
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