Jean Nouvel Unveils the Design of Shenzhen Opera House in China

Jean Nouvel Unveils the Design of Shenzhen Opera House in China

Ateliers Jean Nouvel has won an invited international design competition launched in January 2020 to build a new opera house in Shenzhen, China. His proposal was chosen ahead of several well-known architecture and design studios, such as Kengo Kuma & Associates, Snøhetta, MVRDV, Bjarke Ingels Group, and many others. The project christened 'The Light Of The Sea' anticipates to cover an area of 220,000-square-metre and is composed of numerous undulating roofs that will be adorned with a unique façade system. As per the architect, the new Opera House will act as "an emotional moment, the first stirrings of a desire for music." Read more about the Project at SURFACES REPORTER (SR): 

Also Read: Jean Nouvel Designed ‘Sharaan’- A Luxury Cave Resort in the AlUla Desert, Saudi Arabia

Surrounded by water on three sides, Shenzhen Opera House will have a fluid design with colourful outdoor terraces to stimulate its surroundings and enhance the existing promenade." Shenzhen has always been in harmony with the South China Sea," explained Nouvel. "The Opera House will welcome and incorporate the sea. They will bolster each other, bond," he further added.

Once complete, the project will comprise a 2,300-seat opera hall, 1,800-seat concert gallery, 800-seat operetta theatre, 400-seat multifunctional theater, public service and cultural and creativity area, performance supporting room, stage design and production center, performer apartments and offices. 

The architectural design aims to create a link to the sea, marking the city's rich history as a fishing village. 

Mother of Pearl

The firm also describes that the opera house's auditorium can be seen through a spacious main foyer area that leads to it. The curved foyer is the centerpiece of the auditorium, which will be made from mother-of-pearl, also called a nacre, a luminous material produced in some molluscs' shells.

The precious and bright material featuring the opera house's auditorium will look wet when dry. This will highlight the foyer and "the curve of the balconies or the acoustic geometries of the walls" in an irregular, rhythmic way.

"Using the lustrous white reflections of a nacreous material will be a concrete poeticisation of the meeting of the sea and the auditorium and concert halls of the Opera House."

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"At Shenzhen, then, inside as well as out, the twin image of mother-of-pearl shell and wave will open on to the ever-changing light of the sea," Nouvel added.

World Class Palace of Art

The Shenzhen government wanted to design a "world-class palace of art" that will become a cynosure in its extensive master plan for the city, which incorporates the building of nine other cultural landmarks.

In addition to the main performance auditoriums, the Shenzhen Opera House will also comprise a multifunctional theatre having a seating capacity of 400 people, cultural spaces for the public and offstage areas such as a production centre, apartments for performers and offices.

The firm has disclosed very few details about the design, but they have unveiled making the main hall highly visible throughout the building.

Also Read: Architecture amidst the sea - Louvre Museum by Ar. Jean Nouvel

The main hall will also include a large loggia that will expand and lead to terraces overlooking the sea.

Jean Nouvel is a French architect who founded his eponymous studio in 1994. The architect has designed several significant projects, including Qatar's National Museum in Doha, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and many more. Apart from the Shenzhen Opera House, the firm is currently developing a cave hotel in Saudi Arabia's AlUla desert.

Project Details

Project Name: Shenzhen Opera House
Location: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China
Winning Proposal: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

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