ZHA's new art centre in China is inspired by the flying patterns of migratory birds

Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects in southern China will include a 1,200-seat theatre, a multifunctional 500-seat hall, a science centre and an art museum.

by Shreeparna ChatterjeePublished on : Feb 04, 2021

In the heart of Jinwan district’s Western Ecological New Town, the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre stands as a hub of contemporary creativity. The construction for the site is underway with the steel structure of the lattice roof canopy already installed, as it starts to take shape into four different cultural venues.

  • The Civic Art Centre under construction | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    The Civic Art Centre under construction Image: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Top view of the construction site | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Top view of the construction site Image: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the building will be connected by the Zhuhai Airport intercity railway, which provides direct connections to Zhuhai’s city centre, its airport, Hengin district, Guangzhou, Shenzen, Macau and Hong Kong via interchanges.

The four distinct cultural institutions within the art centre will be a 1200-seat Grand Theatre, a 500-seat Multifunctional Hall, a Science Centre, and an Art Museum. While each venue incorporates unique characteristics, which are best suited for engaging visitors in the best experience of that institution, the centre overall has a coherent formal and structural logic that spans 170 meters wide from east to west and 270 meters long from north to south. Forming a symmetric arrangement, the larger and two smaller venues are connected via a central plaza that also acts as an external foyer to each of the four institutions.

The two larger and two smaller venues connected by a foyer | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
The two larger and two smaller venues connected by a foyer Image: Courtesy of Minmud, Zaha Hadid Architects

The glazed walls that face the connecting courtyard allow the visitors to determine the unique character of each venue. The material palette for the Grand Theatre and Art Museum are of a lighter tone, while the Multifunctional Hall and Science Centre are painted in darker hues. According to Zaha Hadid Architects, the latticed steel canopies over each venue echo the chevron patterns of the formation that migratory birds make while flying over southern China. Each of these roofs have been configured through repetition, symmetry and scale variation which results in a composition of related elements that respond to the different functional requirements of each venue. The building module of the roof is self-supporting and self-stabilising and the repetition of the modules optimise pre-fabrication, pre-assembly, and the use of modular construction.

The steel structure of the latticed roofs | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
The steel structure of the latticed roofs Image: Courtesy of Slashcube, Zaha Hadid Architects

The distinctive canopy unites the different venues under a network of reticulated shells rising above the four buildings. A vibrant public plaza interconnected by bridges and voids offers view to the centre’s interiors as well as the surrounding promenades with their cafés, restaurants and educational facilities. Natural light is optimised through the design in all the public areas, enhancing connectivity and creating engaging civic spaces for the residents to enjoy during different hours of the day.

Natural light peering into the centre | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
Natural light peering into the centre Image: Courtesy of Methanoia, Zaha Hadid Architects

Visitors are greeted with ramps that go towards the rooftop piazza where footbridges and stairs connect through a central void to each venue. The glazed façades provide transparency and welcome the community onto its public plazas beneath the roof. The west side has an external amphitheatre which allows for outdoor performances and activities.

The interiors of one of the venues | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
The interiors of one of the venues Image: Courtesy of Methanoia, Zaha Hadid Architects

Zhuhai’s ‘sponge city’ initiative targets the natural permeation, storage and re-use of at least 70 per cent of the city’s rainwater; using aquatic flora and fauna to naturally filter contaminants. Keeping this in mind, ZHA has designed the centre’s landscaping and surrounding lake as integral elements of the structure. Designed to achieve two stars within China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard, the selection and procurement of the centre’s structural components prioritises recycled materials. Humidity and soil-moisture sensors within the landscaping’s irrigation system are set up to control and reduce water consumption. The centre’s interior environment will be monitored for energy consumption and indoor air quality using system with intelligent control that automatically adjust for optimising comfort and energy reduction.

  • The lake surrounding the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    The lake surrounding the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre Image: Courtesy of Minmud, Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Bird’s eye view of the centre at night | Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre | Zaha Hadid Architects | STIRworld
    Bird’s eye view of the centre at night Image: Courtesy of Minmud, Zaha Hadid Architects

The double-insulated glazing of the building’s envelope is shielded by the latticed roof canopy, which incorporates perforated aluminium panels to provide external solar shading and is optimised for thermal performance. The perforations allow varying degrees of sunlight with the interiors of the centre, according their programming requirements, solar gain and orientation. Waste heat recovery will be used to meet the centre’s hot water demand with water-saving appliances connected to the centre’s water recycling system.

ZHA’s recent projects for China also include the halls of residence for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Tower C in Shenzhen.

Project Details

Name: Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre
Location: Zhuhai, China
Date: 2017 - 2021
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Status: Under Construction
Client: Zhuhai Huajin Development and Construction

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