A community opera school
Tai O, Hong Kong
By Joshua Lau

Young European Asian Architects Forum
Concept Design
Completion 2003

Tai O, Hong Kong

A community opera school is proposed along the Tai O’s seaside. The building serves both as a local community centre for the elderly and as a place where foreign visitors are encouraged to learn about Chinese culture through Chinese opera, in the course of retreat programmes, ranging from a week to a one-month period. The project is described in three parts; the weather screen, spaces embraced by the bamboo roof and the community centre.The weather screen generates shadows and creates a tranquil exterior according to the time of the day. During normal days, these balconies serve as corridors where students and visitors would walk along, while the local old people would meet and chat in the afternoon, passing on the stories of Tai O.Chinese tea house and rehearsal studios are beneath a recycled bamboo roof, which was originally from the temporary opera theater structure. These pieces are stored and transformed as the roof of the exterior spaces. When there is a performance on the opera stage area opposite the temple, these bamboo pieces will be carried across to recreate the theatre.The community centre forms the main building envelope, which also dissolves to the centre of Tai O market where voluntary services, such as opera singing group, and the elderly would gather. Furthermore, student accommodations are dotted within the water village especially in the unoccupied houses.