New cultural centre on Zibo waterfront immersed in inventive local history
Zibo located in China’s northern Shandong province has a long history and culture since it was the capital of the ancient State of Qi in 2000 BC. The Qi State contributed many elements to Chinese culture including music, ceramics and was even the birthplace of football. Certainly amongst the most famous is Zibo’s ceramics and pottery culture, which remain some of the most important cultural features of the period. The pottery industry started in the State of Qi and has over 8,000 years of history in Zibo where the industry still thrives today.
Zibo, with 4.8m inhabitants, is developing rapidly. Zibo city planners have created a new district for the city, including a brand new cultural centre. To accommodate the cultural and educational needs and to provide a renewed urban identity, the new Zibo Grand Theater seeks to become a landmark building of the new city centre; however, its role as city icon in this constantly changing environment of a rapidly developing city required a solid, calm and durable architectural language. This challenge led to the solution of a simple building shape overlaid with a very expressive facade texture directly linked to the city’s Qi history.
The building is organised in three horizontal units. The podium, with a solid and enclosed facade made of locally produced stone, hosts the entrances and supporting facilities. Above this base, the main body floats over the lake and hosts the three main functions: the Opera Theater, the Concert Hall and the Cinema Center. They are encased with a white ceramic facade, and feature a fine structure of windows draped over the surface. Visually, the large glass windows connect the public spaces with the surrounding city. A unique user experience is enabled thanks to the large glass facade in the Concert Hall where the audience’s enjoyment is enhanced by the surrounding park backdrop through the window when attending a concert.