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UNStudio's new world class theatre is comprised of interlocking transparent volumes in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Architecture News - Dec 11, 2018 - 07:05 6283 views
UNStudio has released design for a world class theatre for dance and theatrical arts in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong. Named Lyric Theatre Complex, the new theatre is located in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, an ambitious 40 hectare waterfront cultural quarter which combines open public space with a wide range of cultural venues.
"Here museums, theatres and concert halls intermingle to create a vibrant district for Hong Kong, where different disciplines within the arts can interact, collaborate, innovate and develop," said UNStudio.
"Alongside the wide variety of cultural offerings, the District also comprises a mixed-use residence, office buildings, and 23 hectares of public space and squares, all of which are connected along a two kilometre long harbourfront promenade."
The Lyric Theatre Complex will approximately cover a 41,000-square-metre space and will be a mixed-use project housing three theatres (the Lyric Theatre, the Medium Theatre and the Studio Theatre), a Large Rehearsal Room which can also be used as an additional performing arts venue, a Resident Company Centre with eight dance and rehearsal studios and administrative facilities, and an extensive programme allocation for Retail, Dining and Entertainment.
"The constraints of the site for the Lyric Theatre Complex presented numerous fascinating challenges for the arrangement of the various programmes within this very compact building. However, in the end we were able to create a vibrant building that celebrates the enchanting world of dance and theatre and will cater to the future needs of Hong Kong’s theatre-going public," said Ben van Berkel.
The Lyric Theatre Complex has been overseen by UNStudio Asia. Headed up by responsible Partner Hannes Pfau, UNStudio Asia consists of two full service offices located in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
"Throughout the intensive design process, our team sought solutions that articulated the innate contradictions of the Project: creating openness in a very compact space, providing a public-oriented design for a primarily private programme, and translating the black box nature of a theatre complex into a place of maximised transparency and interaction. We created a home for the arts and a stage for the public," said Hannes Pfau.
Transparency is the key design parameter for UNStudio
"Theatre buildings are no longer the enclosed, dark, clandestine ‘black-box’ volumes they once were. Today theatres are designed to be open, welcoming and inclusive - aiming as they do to attract a broader public and make the performing arts accessible to everyone," said the architects.
Transparency is therefore an important facet in the design of the new Lyric Theatre Complex; it openly displays what is taking place inside and invites in theatre-goers and general visitors alike. This inclusive approach is further supported by providing additional programme for the public to enjoy that is independent of performance time-tables.
Even the Resident Company Centre programme - stacked above the Studio Theatre - enables views into the dance and rehearsal studios from the outside plaza. This transparency further activates the Artist Square to the north of the complex.
The Three Theatres
Whilst the three theatres within the Complex draw their own distinct identities from the types of performing arts to which they cater, their designs follow a unified approach essential to both creating a complementary family of theatres and a coherent building.
Each theatre therefore has its own distinct colour which relates to its function. This colour is not only applied in the auditoriums, but also in the correlating foyers, thus also acting as a means of wayfinding.
The colour and intensity of the spaces become more vibrant as the visitors get closer to the performing arts venues: the Arrival Hall and ‘Central Spine’ circulation routes employ neutral tones, but the intensity of colour builds and reaches its height when entering the auditorium.
The Lyric Theatre
As the largest of the three auditoriums, the 1450-seat Lyric Theatre is a principal venue for various forms of dance performance and will also house other preforming arts events including musicals, opera and film premieres. As the most formal of the three theatres, the Lyric Theatre reflects the grandeur and distinction of baroque-era theatres through the use of red and bronze-toned details, while a combination of a cooler grey/brown toned wood adds a contemporary touch.
The design of the Lyric Theatre arises from the need to create asymmetrical seating arrangements, offset per floor to maximise the total seating in a spatially constrained building. However, through the angling of the side seat pockets and balcony frontage, there is the impression of symmetry from the stage, to the benefit of the dancers.
Additionally, the size of the first balcony circle level is maximised where the best seats are located for watching dance performances, while smaller pockets on each level provide greater intimacy in this large venue.
The Medium Theatre
The 600 seat Medium Theatre is dedicated to theatre and dance. This theatre uses a dark saturated purple, which is contrasted with a walnut interior with metal inlays.
In order to create a more intimate, unified audience, instead of a stacked approach, the upper and lower stall levels of the auditorium are visually united, separated only by a single geometric gesture that makes the upper stall ‘float’.
The Studio Theatre
The 270-seat Studio Theatre is for small-to-medium scale text-based drama productions. A homogenous dark blue-coloured interior creates a black-box-like atmosphere.
To truly enhance the intimate scale of the theatre, the auditorium is encased in a single shell that also encompasses the front of the stage and encloses the performers and audience within one space.
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Garett Hwang, Shuyan Chan
Project Team: Sean Ellis, Praneet Verma, Josias Hamid, Irina Bogdan, Alexander Meyers, Jeff Lam, Iker Mugarra Flores, Deepak Jawahar, Mimmo Barbaccia, Evan Shieh, William Benjamin Lucas, Caroline Smith, Vera Kleesattel, Albert Lo, Arnold Wong, Emily Yan, Haibo He, Abraham Fung, Mihai Soltuz, Betty Fan, Johnny Chan, Berta Sola Sanchez, Eric Jap, Chuanzhong Zhang, Kyle Chou, Bennet Hu, Kenneth Sit, Kevin Yu, Weihong Dong, Stephni Jacobson, Piao Liu, Francois Gandon, James Jones, Mingxuan Xie, Iris Pastor, Jonathan Rodgers, Kaisi Hsu, Pragya Vashisht, Nora Schueler.
Lead Consultants: UNStudio / AD+RG
Structure, Civil, Geotechnical: AECOM
MEP, Environmental: WSP
Theatre Consultant: The Space Factory, Carre and Angier
Acoustic Consultant: Marshall Day
Facade Consultant: inhabit
Landscape Consultant: LWK Partners
Lighting Consultant: ag Licht
BIM Consultant: isBIM
Traffic Consultant: MVA
All renderings by DBOX
Masterplan image: © WKCDA
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