Bao’An Performing Arts Center by Rocco Design Architects opens in Shenzhen | News


All Images: Zhang Chao Studio / Rocco Design Architects Associates

Rocco Design Architects Associates have completed the Performing Arts Center as part of their wider Bao-An Cultural District masterplan in Shenzhen, China. The 600 seat, 28,000-square-meter building houses Shenzhen’s first performance hall and will host opera, dance, symphonies, and dramatic performances. 

Overlooking Quanhai Bay and the South China Sea, the building anchors the southern end of the Bao-An Cultural District. The 110,000-square-meter arts and performance complex was masterplanned and designed by Rocco Design Architects and includes three major new destinations: the Performing Arts Center, a Library, and a Youth Palace. The Library was completed in 2013 and the Youth Palace in 2018. 

The design of the Performing Arts Center takes inspiration from the long and narrow waterfront site. The base of the building is a low-slung, wave-like volume that provides a sense of rhythm and movement along the campus’s axis. The building’s delicately perforated façade refers back to ancient Chinese crafts like wood and ivory carving. This produces dramatic visual effects reflecting light shimmering on the bay. The structure’s scrim-like envelope adjusts transparency according to the spaces it encloses. Openings are present at the public lobbies and gathering areas, whereas theaters and rehearsal spaces become more opaque. This façade concept is rooted in traditional Chinese building screens and shadow walls. 

A tilted fly tower creates a point of orientation that highlights the center as the focal point of the complex. Sky bridges connect the tower to the main volume providing views of the bay. Gathering areas and elevated porticos line the base of the building, along with a restaurant that sits at the end of a sloping volume that extends into the plaza.

Upon entering the building, visitors move through a triple-height lobby. A grand curving staircase and billowing walls finished with wooden slats continue the undulating nature of the exteriors. Natural light from above penetrates the spaces through the perforated façade. 

The main performance hall’s delicately sculpted walls accentuate the organic geometries of the space and optimize acoustic conditions by muffling background noise and enhancing sonic clarity. The stage includes six double-layered lifts that can be raised and lowered within a range of ten meters. The orchestra pool can also be raised to the height of the main stage to extend the performance area into the house. 

In addition, the main performance hall is complemented by a 600-seat theater. The space is designed for flexibility, in which the stage and seating can be easily rearranged, in order to accommodate experimental productions. 

Rocco Design Architects Associates’ Performing Arts Center opening on September 17, 2021.

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