Opening of HKUST’s Shaw Auditorium to Promote Diversity through Arts and Culture

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New Landmark that Draws Arts and Tech Together

Opening of HKUST’s Shaw Auditorium to Promote Diversity through Arts and Culture

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Shaw Auditorium at HKUST (Photo credit: Henning Larsen Architects)
Shaw Auditorium at HKUST (Photo credit: Henning Larsen Architects) [Download Photo]

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) celebrated today the opening of Shaw Auditorium – a brand new hall with state-of-the-art facilities supported by a HK$150 million donation from the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong (SFHK). This new landmark is set to turn HKUST into an arts and culture hub, offer a new place of learning and gathering for the community and further humanistic and creativity development of the University and its surrounding environment.

Officiating at the opening ceremony were Mrs. Carrie LAM CHENG Yuet-Ngor , Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR); Prof. TAN Tieniu, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR; Mr. YANG Yirui, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR; Mr. Alfred SIT Wing-Hang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology; Mr. Carlson TONG Ka-Shing, Chairman of University Grants Committee (UGC); Mr. Raymond CHAN Wai-Man, Chairman of the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong; Mr. Andrew LIAO Cheung-Sing, HKUST Council Chairman; Prof. Wei SHYY, HKUST President; Dr. John CHAN Cho-Chak, HKUST Court Chairman; Dr. Vincent LO Hong-Sui, HKUST Honorary Court Chairman; Prof. Patrick YEUNG Kai-Cheung, HKUST Council Vice-Chairman; and Mr. Henry TANG Ying-Yen, Chairman of the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. 

The ceremony was attended by more than 500 guests, including Mr. LIU Zhiming, General Manager of the Beijing-Hong Kong Talent Exchange Centre; Dr. Christine CHOI Yuk-Lin, Under Secretary for Education; Mr. Vincent LIU Ming-Kwong, Director of Leisure and Cultural Services; Prof. James TANG Tuck-Hong, Secretary-General of UGC; Council members of SFHK Ms. Meage CHOY, Ms Jenny Li and Ms. Venus CHOY, as well as HKUST senior management members, HKUST Council members, staff, students, Consulate Generals, artists and arts administrators.

In her keynote speech, Chief Executive of HKSAR Mrs. Carrie Lam said the opening of the Shaw Auditorium marked a stunning start to the 30th anniversary of this young and exceptionally-gifted university. “More than a state-of-the-art addition to the HKUST, the Shaw Auditorium is a much welcomed addition to a growing list of top-class arts and cultural facilities in Hong Kong,” she said. “All these facilities will provide a solid base for Hong Kong’s development as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange as supported by the Central Government in our nation’s 14th Five-Year Plan. Beyond arts and culture, 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.”

Chairman of SFHK Mr. Raymond Chan said he is thrilled to see the opening of this beautiful architecture. “The late Mr Run Run Shaw and Mrs Mona Shaw were passionate about supporting the arts and culture. This contemporary Shaw Auditorium and the adjacent Mona Shaw Plaza signify a fruitful collaboration between HKUST and the Shaw Foundation, and more importantly, the beginning of new opportunities for students and future generations to learn and thrive.” 

HKUST Council Chairman Mr. Andrew Liao expressed his heartfelt gratitude to SFHK’s generosity. “Today’s Shaw Auditorium opening ceremony marks the beginning of HKUST’s 30th-anniversary celebration. With the imminent opening of HKUST(GZ), the inauguration of this state-of-the-art multi-purpose auditorium will further bring art and culture to HKUST, fostering whole-person development of students beyond science and technology, providing a much-needed venue for nurturing creative talents, and serving as an “East-meets-West” cultural hub for the University and the community nearby and beyond.” 

HKUST President Prof. Wei Shyy extended his warm welcome to all the distinguished guests for joining the celebration. “Shaw Auditorium will be a place offering optimism and reflection to all HKUST members and friends in our community. Together, we can let humanity grow and bloom in unscripted and hopefully unimaginable ways,” he said.

The four-story elliptical building is a unique venue that features some 10 different configurations, allowing flexible adaptation to a whole range of events including music performance, exhibition, banquet, drama show and other university-wide activities. Apart from a one-of-its-kind curved wall (aka cyclorama) and an edge-blend projection display that bring powerful and seamless visual experiences to the audience; the immersive sound system in the main hall, paired with a world-class acoustic fine-tuning design allow precise sound delivery around the hall, bringing authentic and enjoyable experience to the ears. Meanwhile, the lifting platform at the hall center and an accommodating retractable seating system also facilitate the flexible adjustment and combination among the stage, floor and the audience sectors.

With all the new facilities in place, HKUST will enhance the students’ art exposure and promote an interplay of art and technology by making art-related courses compulsory for most programs. There are also some new programs such as the Extended Major in Digital Media and Creative Arts, and Computational Media and Arts. Students who have completed the Student Stage Trainee Program offered by the University will be given the opportunities to assist in performances staged at the auditorium under the guidance of professional staff.

Designed by Danish architect Mr. Claude Bøjer GODEFROY, the auditorium empathizes sustainable aspect of the building massing and balcony overhang, promoting urban ventilation and sun-shading that bring significant energy savings. The project won the Platinum Rating of Provisional Assessment under the BEAM Plus NB V1.2 of the Hong Kong Green Building Council – a rare recognition for an auditorium structure.

Echoing a theme of East-meets-West cultural exchange, the occasion opened with a series of vocal and instrumental performances by HKUST’s students and alumni, and concluded by an Opening Concert by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring two pieces of Chinese folk music and Beethoven Symphony no. 7. More upcoming events including the Italian Chamber Music Concert, performances by Chinese music ensemble, Diversity Film Festival, Cosmopolis Festival and Czech Composers Concert Series will follow, spanning across eastern and western cultures to promote diversity and inclusiveness.

Visitors who are interested to join can visit the Shaw Auditorium website for more details.

(This news was originally published by the HKUST Public Affairs Office here.)