UNStudio release Lyric Theatre Complex designs
New performance spaces for Hong Kong cultural district
UNStudio has revealed designs for the Lyric Theatre Complex in Hong Kong, situated in the same district as the recently topped out M+ Museum building by Herzog & de Meuron. The theatre is part of the new 40 hectare waterfront cultural quarter, planned to combine open public space with a wide range of venues where different artistic disciplines can collaborate and develop.
The mixed-use Lyric project houses three theatres, a rehearsal room which can also be used as an additional performing arts space, a resident company centre with eight dance and rehearsal studios and administrative facilities, alongside extensive retail, dining and entertainment venues. The design sought to reflect the function of today’s theatres as open and inclusive buildings, rather than enclosed and inward-facing ‘black box’ spaces. This approach is carried through to the Resident Company Centre area, where the dance and rehearsal studios can be viewed from the outside plaza. The building circulation is driven by a central spine, acting as an inner alleyway to create a direct connection between Artist Square to the north and the harbor front to the south.
Each theatre has its own distinct colour which relates to its function. As the most formal of the three auditoriums, the 1450-seat Lyric Theatre reflects the grandeur of baroque-era theatres through the use of red and bronze-toned details, while a combination of a cooler grey and brown toned wood adds a contemporary touch. The 600-seat Medium Theatre is a dark saturated purple, contrasted with a walnut interior and metal inlays. In order to create a more intimate atmosphere, the upper and lower stall levels are separated only by a single geometric gesture that makes the upper stall appear to ‘float’. The 270-seat Studio Theatre has a dark blue interior encased in a single shell that also encompasses the front of the stage and encloses the performers and audience within one space.
Complex organisational, acoustic and vibration challenges arose on the site, which is located in a limited space where pedestrian access is above ground and vehicular traffic is below. Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect at UNStudio, stated: “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.”
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