Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Arts Centre incorporates a contemporary art museum (MICA), an 1,800-seat theatre with supporting facilities and a multipurpose hall. Its organic architectural language is defined by pedestrian routes that weave through the site to connect with neighbouring streets.
Providing views of the adjacent Meixi Lake from the city and giving access to the parks and walking trails on the lake’s Festival Island, this ensemble of three separate cultural institutions creates external courtyards where pedestrian routes intersect for outdoor events and sculpture exhibitions.
The largest and most versatile cultural centre in Hunan province, the Culture & Arts Centre connects directly with its station on Line 2 of Changsha’s new Metro System.
Located on historic trade routes through China, the city of Changsha’s traditions as an important centre of communications continues as one of the country’s leading media hubs with the centre’s Grand Theatre hosting a popular programme of performances and television productions.
Designed for the widest variety of performing arts, the Grand Theatre provides all front-of-house functions in sculpted lobbies, bars and hospitality suites, as well as the necessary ancillary functions including administration offices, rehearsal studios, backstage logistics, wardrobe and dressing rooms.
With eight juxtaposed exhibition galleries totalling 10,000m2 centred around an atrium for large-scale installations and events, the MICA art museum also includes dedicated spaces for community workshops, a lecture theatre, café and museum shop.
The Small Theatre is characterized by its flexibility. This multipurpose hall with a capacity of 500 seats can be transformed to different configurations to accommodate a broad range of functions and performances that span from small plays, fashion shows and music performances to banquets and commercial events.
Totalling 115,000m2 , these three civic institutions are uniquely defined and separate, yet complement each other with different opening times creating vitality throughout the day and evening. The theatre becomes active as the art museum begins to conclude its day-time operations, whilst the variety of events in the smaller theatre ensure it will be used at all times.
The cladding is glass fiber reinforced concrete (GRC) panels. These extruded panels that have fiberglass embedded in their concrete matrix in three layers: the top and bottom with undirected, scattered fibers and the ones in between with bundles following the proposed form. With no steel reinforcement, the panels can be slimmed down to 8–13 mm without losing their flexural strength.
We worked with London-based digital panelization specialist Newtecnic who developed specialist 3d software to optimise the panelization geometries of all the different façade panels. The form and shape of each panel is defined directly by this 3d software which ensures they fit precisely in place on the building. At the point of fabrication, microchips are fitted to all panels, allowing the contractors to track each panel which dramatically accelerates the installation process.
Our research into opera house and auditorium design over the past 20 years has shown us the many benefits of asymmetrical auditoriums – they can give a real depth to the natural acoustics. All the three acoustic parameters - reverberation, sound pressure (volume) and clarity – need to be balanced, and we worked very closely with Marshall Day to optimize the performance of the space. One example; ribs in the glass-fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels enables the sound pressure be toned down. The deeper and closer together these ribs are, the more effective they are at toning down the pressure.
The interior of Opera House’s main auditorium space is a champagne-colored gold space with a gloss finish – a similar appearance of luxurious silk. This is continued into the seating which is also copper toned. The overhead lighting is a constellation of very small white LED lights. As with all our work of the past 10 years, we wanted to achieve the ultimate fluid space to deal with the complexities of the demanding acoustic engineering, and also the complicated programming requirements that allow for a variety of events and performances in the building. Therefore, we have continued the seamless, organic architectural language in the asymmetrical auditorium space. Glass-fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels have been used to create one single surface with many pleats and folds that house a variety of acoustic panels and extend into the space to accommodate seating areas.
Working with clients that have global reputations for excellence, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has redefined architecture for the 21st century with a repertoire of projects that have captured imaginations across the globe.
Form and space are woven within the structure of buildings that evolve from their surroundings and tie disparate programmes together. Enticingly contextual, each project combines an unwavering optimism for the future with concepts of connectivity and integration.
Receiving the highest honours from civic, professional and academic institutions worldwide, ZHA is one of the world’s most consistently inventive architectural studios—and has been for four decades.
Collaborating with visionary clients, communities and industry experts on more than 60 on-going projects, ZHA’s hugely talented and dedicated teams of over 400 experienced professionals work with passion and commitment to honour Zaha Hadid’s legacy and create transformational projects on six continents.