New opera house makes dramatic statement

With the designs for the West Kowloon Cultural District grabbing headlines recently, including designs for an impressive opera house, it was the new Guangzhou Opera House that caught LOFT’s attention this week. Like pebbles in a stream smoothed by erosion, the ‘twin boulder’ design of the Guangzhou Opera House sits in perfect harmony to the adjacent Pearl River, articulating the relationship between architectural design and its context.

The exterior of the two buildings are clad in a mesmerizing pattern of tessellated triangular granite sections of and zones within the Opera House are defined by the angular folding structural lines, cutting dramatic interior and exterior canyons which boost air circulation and allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building.

Image courtesy of Virgile Simon Bertrand

LOFT were similarly stunned by the the interiors for the main auditorium which embody a wash of champagne-coloured features accented with copper-toned seating and an overhead ‘constellation’ of power saving LED lights. London-based architectural firm Zaha Hadid Architects worked closely with acousticians Marshall Day to optimize the designs of the 1,800-seat auditorium of the Opera House to be suitable for performances of both Western and Chinese opera as well as the smaller 400-seat multifunction hall, which will be used for performance art, opera and concerts in the round.

The Guangzhou Opera House has been the catalyst for the development of cultural facilities in the city including new museums, library and archives. Guangzhou’s Opera House is the latest realization of Zaha Hadid Architects’ ambitious urban design, and their portfolio will soon be bolstered with the completion of the planned Madrid Civil Court and London’s Aquatic Centre for the 2012 games.

Main image courtesy of Iwan Baan

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