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Lyric Theatre Complex

Context

The Lyric Theatre Complex 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.

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 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.” –Ben van Berkel

 

 

Transparency

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. 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.

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.

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’.

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.

Concept and Design

  • Circulation - The Central Spine
  • Organisation
  • Programme Distribution