Bing Thom Architects + Ronald Lu & Partners will work with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority to design and deliver a world-class facility for the preservation, development and promotion of this important art form of Chinese cultural heritage in Hong Kong. The Xiqu (Chinese Opera) Centre will be the first of 17 core arts and cultural venues to be opened within the District. The venue will provide a platform for the Xiqu communities to interact, develop, produce the finest examples of Cantonese and other Chinese opera performances, attract new audiences, educate and collaborate with and host international cultural programmes. Occupying a prime site of 13,800 square metres 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. Early concept designs illustrate that the building will provide a striking entrance, a lantern for the District, employing the Moongate traditional Chinese motif and a dynamic treatment of the facade. Its flow or “qi” is expressed with curvilinear paths and forms. The architecture incorporates a generous amount of public leisure space, in addition to 2,000 square metres of training and education facilities, two superbly designed auditoria for 1,100 and 400 seats (the latter to be developed in phase 2) respectively and a traditional Tea House for performances for audiences up to 280.The project is scheduled for commission in end of 2016.