Atkins is to develop the below-ground elements for a Chinese opera facility designed for the preservation and development of this traditional art form in Hong Kong.
Atkins is working as sub-consultant to structural engineer Buro Happold, which will carry out the remainder of the engineering, and with the architectural design team Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners.
The Xiqu Centre has been commissioned by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) as the gateway building of a planned new cultural district, which will eventually boast 15 performing arts venues.
The Xiqu Centre is a technically challenging project as it is sited within a cramped urban area and will sit directly above the MTR West Rail metro tunnels and the southern end of Austin station. Atkins’ engineers face challenges to ensure the works do not affect the stability of the station and the tunnels.
CK Chan, Atkins’ director for structure in Asia Pacific, said: “The complexity of infrastructure above and below ground in Hong Kong means all big projects are difficult but the additional prestige that comes with working on the Xiqu Centre makes this job even more interesting.
“There are several hurdles including making sure the Centre’s foundations are clear of the metro and the structure spreads its load in a way that does not add additional load to the MTR tunnel.
“The construction phase is also critical due to the vibration risk and the changes in surcharge loadings on the MTR structures as soil is removed and then the basement constructed above,” said Chan.
“It is complex, but we have the expertise from having worked on the MTR system development and the recent Li Chi Kok drainage tunnel, also in West Kowloon, on which we had similar challenges.”
Atkins’ scope of work includes detailed design for the substructure including foundations, basement and ground floor, and excavation and lateral support for construction, associated road works and external drainage adjacent to the building as well as site supervision over a period of ten months.
The Xiqu Centre is scheduled for completion around the end of 2016 and will be the first of 17 core arts and cultural venues to be opened within the District.