Heatherwick Studio wins competition to design Hainan Performing Arts Centre

Hainan Performing Arts Centre

Heatherwick Studio will design a tropical opera house for the island province of Hainan at the southernmost point of China. The competition, organised by Haikou Tourism & Culture Investment Holding Group, called for a new cultural landmark with a top-tier performing arts centre.

Heatherwick’s response provides three performance spaces – an opera house, a concert hall and a theatre – that come together as a focal point for the new Jiangdong cultural quarter just east of the historic city centre. “Our inspiration came from the volcanic landscape and the costumes, colours and movement of Hainanese Opera,”, said Eliot Postma, Partner and Group Leader at Heatherwick Studio.“

Many opera houses are cut off from their surroundings and only come to life when a performance is on. We wanted to create a space that is an extension of the city and will contribute to life on the street throughout the day. The new performing arts centre will have capacity for 3,800 people and integrate arts, creative, learning, rehearsal and performance spaces.

So the canopy shelters a mix of different spaces that form an open-air village, of which the halls are a part. It blends the formality of performance with the informality of island culture, making opera more accessible and offering everyone a space to meet whether you have a ticket or not.

The venue aims to stage international productions that range from large-scale opera, ballet and musicals to avant-garde drama, fashion and immersive multimedia performance. The design process involved a team of makers and engineers who crafted the design through physical and immersive digital modelling alongside rigorous testing and data analysis.

Their design responds intelligently to the local ecology and climate, reducing energy consumption and costs while cooling the environment for visitors and users of the space. This will be the first opera house or music venue designed by Heatherwick Studio. Construction of the main building is scheduled to begin towards the end of 2022. Source and images Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.