HKUST Shaw Auditorium
Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong
The Shaw Auditorium, a new landmark for the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), opened its doors in a grand opening ceremony on 17 November, with a special performance by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The multi-purpose building, designed by Henning Larsen, is located at the Clear Water Bay campus and will provide a dynamic venue to host cultural activities and large-scale events, including, concerts, theatre performances, musicals, conferences, lectures, conventions, exhibitions, banquets and ceremonies.
The flexible design of the auditorium, equipped with retractable seating, allows for multiple arrangements with a seating capacity of 850 for concerts, and over 1,300 in flat floor configurations. The hall contains acoustic operable partitions, enabling the space to be configured for industry and University expos, commercial awards and gala nights, University exams, graduation ceremonies, fashion parades associated with Hong Kong Fashion Week, and Art Basel gala events. Incorporating sustainable building practices within the project was extremely important to HKUST, which endeavours to foster a green and sustainable campus.
Marshall Day Acoustics provided full acoustic design services for the auditorium, multi-purpose rooms, and ancillary spaces, including room acoustic design, mechanical services noise control, sound insulation design, and vibration control, from the concept design, detailed design, tendering, and construction, right through to commissioning.
Construction of HKUST's Shaw Auditorium began in November 2019. The building was officially open to the public on 17 November 2021.
As a brand new world-class arts and cultural hub, the multi-purpose auditorium needed to provide an excellent acoustic environment for a wide range of events, whilst minimising change-over time between different configurations. This required seamless integration of acoustic design and architectural design.
Acoustic quality is of prime importance for this world-class performance venue. Implementation of high-quality acoustic design required close construction supervision. Site visits were made at a regular interval to ensure acoustic specifications and recommendations were correctly implemented.
“This magnificent multi-purpose auditorium will serve as a 21st century learning and leisure commons, a space for multi-media exhibitions, graduation ceremonies, and all manner of occasions, large and small.”
‘The challenges of the project were functional and symbolic. The auditorium had to accommodate all these different activities, from seated concerts to gala dinners, and the acoustics had to be pitch-perfect each time. In that sense, it’s a really flexible ‘white box’ space. The architecture also had to express its role as the heart of the cultural and artistic life of the campus.’