Curled aluminium ribs envelop Xiqu Centre for Chinese opera in Hong Kong

February 6, 2019
Canadian studio Revery Architecture has completed an opera house in Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District, which is covered in curved aluminium slats arranged in wavy patterns.

Revery Architecture designed the Xiqu Centre in collaboration with local firm Ronald Lu & Partners. It is located in the Kowloon neighbourhood in Hong Kong.

The eight-storey musical complex is the latest addition to the West Kowloon Cultural District on the city's waterfront, which is also home to a train station by Andrew Bromberg and a theatre complex by UNStudio.

"Xiqu Centre is Hong Kong's prestigious new home for traditional Chinese opera and creates a landmark entrance at the gateway to the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), the city's new hub for arts and culture," said Revery Architecture in a project description.

Overlooking the Victoria Harbour, Xiqu Centre has a dramatic facade based on a modular system of curved forms. Each is cut from untreated aluminium using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine.

The result is a dynamic, undulating exterior with thousands of wavy slats that resemble fabric, or ripples across the water.

The aluminium forms huge woven panels around the opera house. These gently pull back at each of the four corners in the ground floor to form the entrances to the 320,000-square-foot (29,729-square-metre) cultural complex.

Inside, there is a circular, stark white, multi-height atrium. Hundreds of narrow crevices and gentle folds line the lobby's ceiling and walls, and the multi-level circulation paths that promote a free-flow of people around of the space.

By Bridget Cogley