12/10/2012 03:03 EST

Hong Kong Chinese Opera Centre To Be Designed By Bing Thom

A Vancouver-based architect has been tapped to design a massive new opera house in Hong Kong.

Bing Thom has been selected to design the $347-million Chinese Opera (Xiqu) Centre, said a news release by the West Kowloon Cultural District on Monday.

The Xiqu Centre will be the first of 17 arts and cultural centres in the district, a project to create a more vibrant arts and cultural scene in Hong Kong.

The entrance will provide a "lantern" for the district with two auditoriums that will seat 1,100 and 400 people, respectively. There will also be public space and a "Tea House" for smaller performances.

Thom's previous projects include UBC's Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Simon Fraser University's SFU Surrey campus and Vancouver's Sunset Community Centre.

"This is an exciting moment for Hong Kong," said Thom in a statement. "Chinese opera has a long and well respected tradition in Hong Kong and is evolving into a thriving contemporary art form. The new Xiqu Centre will nurture this evolution, transcending Chinese Opera to ensure its continuity and growth for the future."

The opera house is set to open in 2016.

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