Taking centre stage

James Forryan
05 Nov 2009

Stunning designs for new opera house in China's Zhejiang province

The Zhoushan Opera House, a performing arts facility containing four performance venues and associated circulation and support spaces totaling approximately 20,700 sq m of conditioned space, is to be constructed as part of an engineered peninsula narrowing the waterway between Zhoushan Island and Mount Putuo Island, China. Located within the Zhejiang province southeast of Shanghai, the new peninsula will also house commercial office space, residential development and major government facilities. The opera is situated on the new waterfront in a public garden park setting and will be a prominent feature of the new cityscape when viewed from Mount Putuo Island.

The new opera house takes its inspiration from the sea, building on abstractions of the structure of diatoms (microscopic sea creatures with intricate forms), patterns of movement typical of schools of fish and the phenomenon of bioluminescence found in deep sea creatures. The structure stands in contrast to its surroundings and represents the mystery and imagination involved in theater and performance within. The freeform concrete shell of the building is covered in a metal filigree spaceframe that houses small LED lights which allow the building to glow at night in a variety of colours and patterns. The main interior lobby is designed to envelop patrons in a dream-like space. A helical grand stair and undulating wood wall suggest sea life in a reef. The skylit space uses layers of suspended circular translucent material to filter daylight resulting in a sense of being under water.

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