flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Henning Larsen-designed Shaw Auditorium opens at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Cultural Facilities

Henning Larsen-designed Shaw Auditorium opens at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The project celebrated its grand opening as part of HKUST’s thirtieth anniversary celebration.

By David Malone, Managing Editor | November 17, 2021
Shaw Auditorium at HKUST
All photos: Kris Provoost

The Shaw Auditorium opened on Nov. 17 on the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) campus.

The Henning Larsen-designed building combines a highly flexible, acoustically sophisticated auditorium with bright social spaces. Together, these spaces provide a “living room” for the campus community and a new world-class venue for Hong Kong.

The Shaw Auditorium stands on the hillside in the south of HKUST’s Clear Water Bay campus. It acts as the gateway to the campus between the academic faculties and neighboring community. Visitors are shaded and sheltered from the rain by the building’s deep cantilevers, which draw on the vernacular colonnades and canopies of Hong Kong’s traditional architecture.

Shaw Auditorium interior

Surrounded by orthogonal buildings, the auditorium’s curved form stands out and is meant to signal the artistic and cultural activities within. The circular building appears as three concentric white rings, interspersed with glazing to reveal panoramic views of Sai Kung Bay. The building is welcoming on all sides with no formal front or back.

A series of comfortable lobbies, a cafe, classrooms, and circulation spaces are conceived as an informal social focus for the campus where students can meet, study, and relax. As such, the auditorium is more than a destination for major events and becomes part of the everyday life of the campus community.

Shaw Auditorium theater space

The venue can be adapted to accommodate a wide range of events from a live orchestra to amplified concerts, talks, gala dinners, and exhibitions. A proscenium can be lowered to frame the stage for theater and ballet while the rectilinear plan brings the audience close to the performers and creates an intimate atmosphere. The raked seating can be configured to fit 840 or 1,300 seats, or stored to provide an open surface for conferences, open days, and exhibitions. The curved wall can also function as a 360-degree projection screen.

Shaw Auditorium circulation

The project was designed with a BEAM Platinum environmental strategy that includes a district cooling system, photovoltaic panels over more than half the roof, a highly efficient façade, lighting control, and brushless DC motors fan coil units. A smart ventilation Aircuity System monitors the indoor air quality to ensure sufficient fresh air, using precision sensors to save energy. Acoustic separation, anti-vibration and noise control measures are in place for all building services equipment. The outer wall of the auditorium is clad in bamboo from a renewable supply, mineral paint has been specified for the white façade, and Norwegian wool is used in the acoustic panels.

Henning Larsen designed the project in collaboration with Wong Tung and Partners, WSP Hong Kong, Theatreplan, Marshall Day Acoustics, URBIS, Inhabit, CTA, and RLB.

Shaw Auditorium aerial

Related Stories

Cultural Facilities | Aug 5, 2022

A time and a place: Telling American stories through architecture

As the United States enters the year 2026, it will commence celebrating a cycle of Sestercentennials, or 250th anniversaries, of historic and cultural events across the land.

Museums | Jun 28, 2022

The California Science Center breaks grounds on its Air and Space Center

The California Science Center—a hands-on science center in Los Angeles—recently broke ground on its Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

Cultural Facilities | Jun 15, 2022

Gehry-designed Children’s Institute aims to foster community outreach in L.A.’s Watts neighborhood

The Children’s Institute (CII) in Los Angeles will open a 200,000-sf campus designed by Frank Gehry this summer.

Cultural Facilities | Jun 10, 2022

After 10 Years, Taiwan’s new Taipei Music Center Reaches the Finish Line

RUR Architecture has finished the Taipei Music Center (TMC), turning a 22-acre (9-hectare) site into a new urban arts district.

Projects | Mar 24, 2022

A Hollywood home for creatives

A Hollywood development will serve as a collaborative center for artists, students, and those in the entertainment industry.

Cultural Facilities | Mar 10, 2022

A ‘reimagined’ David Geffen Hall in New York is on track to open this fall

Its half-billion-dollar reconstruction is positioning this performance space as an integral key to luring people to the city again.

Performing Arts Centers | Mar 8, 2022

Cincinnati Ballet’s new center embodies the idea that dance is for everyone

Cincinnati Ballet had become a victim of its own success, according to company president and CEO Scott Altman. “We were bursting at the seams in our old building. We had simply outgrown the facility,” Altman told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

University Buildings | Feb 18, 2022

On-campus performing arts centers and museums can be talent magnets for universities

Cultural facilities are changing the way prospective students and parents view higher education campuses.

Resiliency | Feb 15, 2022

Design strategies for resilient buildings

LEO A DALY's National Director of Engineering Kim Cowman takes a building-level look at resilient design. 

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: