Constructing the Xiqu Centre – an uplifting story

The construction of a world-class arts venue, dedicated to promoting the rich heritage of Xiqu, suspended 25m metres above ground level is a significant engineering challenge and something most people never get to see.

Written by: Tom Kember,  Associate

A series of time-lapse cameras were used to captured the process of lifting the Xiqu Centre steel roof structure into position during January and February this year.

After being assembled and welded at ground level the main theatre roof structure with fly tower, which weighs in at  around 1,800 tonnes, was lifted to the mid-height of six mega columns.

On the 24th February 2016 this phase of the construction culminated in the roof structure being successfully lifted into its final position by a total of 12 strand jacks situated at the top of the 40m tall columns.

See the whole lift in the video below:

Quick facts:

  • The trusses are up to 6.5m deep, span up to 38m and incorporate the use of high strength steels to support the load of the 1100 seat theatre which will eventually be hung below.
  • The unusual lifting method has been considered as part of the overall design from day one to enable the critical roof trusses to be erected quickly and safely at height. This method allows significant savings in time and cost, freeing up the site to allow works below to continue concurrently with the roof and avoiding the need for a substantial temporary works platform on a constrained site.
  • Now the trusses have reached their final position, installation of the bearing beams which provide the permanent connection to the top of the columns has commenced. Once in place these 6 beams, the largest of which weighs 15 tonnes, will support the whole weight of the theatre.

The four year project is due for completion in 2017. It will be the first of 17 core arts and cultural venues to be opened in the district and house a 1,100 seat theatre, along with a smaller teahouse theatre and lecture theatre. It also has a strong sustainability focus, aiming for BEAM plus Gold certification. Buro Happold have provided structural and MEP engineering on this project. To view more information about the project, visit our project page here.

Check back in April to watch the next stage of the construction and the bowl of the theatre being hooked into place..


Client: West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Architects: Ronald Lu & Partners / Bing Thom Architects

Main Contractor: Hip Hing Engineering

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