Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guangzhou Opera House

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital of the Guangdong Province, in Southern China. The city is only a few kilometers awat from Shenzen and Hong-Kong, which places it in one of the richest regions of the country.

The Guangzhou Opera House


What is it made of ? How can it be reproduced using its raw materials ?

The 70,000-square-meter complex of steel, glass and concrete was built using both cutting-edge and near-obsolete construction methods. A pair of asymmetric buildings—the main structures of the opera house—contain a metal skeleton that requires 59 unique, custom-cast steel joints. According to Ms. Hadid’s firm, the Shanghai foundry that made them borrowed techniques perfected in medieval Europe to produce church bells. Then, since precision was critical to ensuring that the irregularly shaped shell was structurally sound, engineers assembled the components using lasers and GPS positioning.


What is the cost of production, distribution and sustainability ? How long does it take to manufacture and where is it done ?

The cost is estimated to be an investment of $120 million. It took nearly 8 years to make it.


What does it look like ? How does it differ from other objects in the same family ?

The 1,800-seat venue dominates the riverfront of the prime Zhujiang New Town business district. The exterior of the opera house is inspired by the idea of two rocks in a stream, “a poetic analogy,” says Ms. Hadid, who as a young architect in 1981 visited traditional gardens in China. The approach resulted in spaces that smoothly flow into others. Ramps and gradually cascading stairs give access to the main entrances and the outdoors. Inside, visitors go from one area to the next surrounded by the kind of clean, fluid lines and textures that have become Ms. Hadid’s signature. In the grand entrance hall, windows composed of triangular pieces of glass let in sunlight by day and the neighborhood’s neon-lit skyscrapers and towers by night.The spine and structural frame of the faceted skin is a dominant element in the interior space: the lobby, entrance, and circulation area interacts with the dynamic treatment, moving and guiding the visitors throughout the volume. In addition to the 1,800-seat grand theatre, the complex hosts a multifunction hall,a number of auxiliary facilities and support premises.

This dune-like building looks like an eroded valley, which makes it communicate with the nature around it, most precisely the river.


How does this object go beyong initial interpretation?

The Guangzhou Opera House is at the heart of Guangzhou’s cultural sites development. It will be a lasting monument to the New Millennium, confirming Guangzhou as one of Asia’s cultural centers.

Its unique twin boulder design will enhance urban function by opening access to the riverside and dock areas and creating a new dialogue with the emerging new town.

Does it have a cultural legacy whether it is for the mass, the elite?

What is really special about the GOH is the marriage of high, intellectual, brilliant, avant-guarde architecture – which instinctively, added to the cost of production, directs the building towards a specific, high-class use by the elite – and true populism:

Next year, the GOH is not only going to have high opera, chinese opera – generally reserved to a smaller economic & cultural elite – but also 'cats and mama-mia's' for the larger mass. The GOH thus becomes a grand, wonderful opera house for everyone.

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