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Hadid brings theatrics to Amman

Niki
Wednesday 24 Feb 2010

Contracts signed for House of Culture & Art

Early designs for Zaha Hadid Architects’ winning proposal for the King Abdullah II House of Culture & Art were released yesterday as the design contracts were signed by the Greater Amman Municipality. Hadid and partner Patrik Schumacher have developed another grandiose design which is scheduled to commence construction in early 2012.

The project includes a 1600-seat concert theatre, 400-seat theatre, educational centre, rehearsal rooms, and galleries. Inspired by the ‘uniqely beautiful monument of Petra’, the building is designed as an artificial oasis and sanctuary for contemporary culture.

“Contemporary architecture is striving to emulate nature and imbue architecture with the intricate complexity and elegance of natural forms. In Petra we admire the way the rose-colored mountain walls have been fi ssured, eroded, carved and polished to reveal the strata of sedimentation along the fl uid lines of the fl uvial erosions,” said Hadid. “We are applying the principle of fluid erosion and carving to the mass of the building for the performing arts centre. This principle of erosion is the sole means of articulating the public spaces in the building. There can be no doubt that this inviting design will wash away the threshold anxiety that sometimes is felt in front of monumental cultural buildings. While the erosion creates the public foyer spaces the remaining mass represents the performance spaces.”

A new urban plaza has been created by shifting the building mass, roughly the same as the current building occupying the site, to the east. A wide and open underpass creates a fluid link into the plaza providing both functional and safe passage under vehicular routes and a continuation of the cultural centre’s architecture.

Generous transparency is provided by meandering glazing wrapping horizontally around one corner from ground level to the top of the building. Hadid’s signature sinuous lines dominate the interior and the transition from outside in, right through to the four tiers of the main theatre.

The House is being promoted by The Greater Amman Municipality as the premiere venue for theatre, music and dance performance and education in Jordan.

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