Integrating four distinct cultural institutions for the city: a 1200-seat Grand Theatre; a 500-seat Multifunctional Hall, a Science Centre; and an Art Museum, each venue within the centre incorporates unique characteristics to create the most engaging visitor experiences, yet all are united by a coherent structure that spans 170 meters wide from east to west and 270 meters long from north to south.
Arranged symmetrically, the two larger and two smaller venues are connected by a central plaza that serves as a shared external foyer to each of the four cultural institutions. Glazed walls facing this courtyard enable visitors to determine the individuality and character of each venue. The Grand Theatre and Art Museum are very light in their materiality, while the Multifunctional Hall and Science Center have a much darker palette of materials.
Echoing the chevron patterns of migratory birds flying in formation over southern China, the latticed steel canopies over each venue are configured through repetition, symmetry and scale variation; resulting in a composition of related elements that respond to the different functional requirements of each building. Every building-module of the roof is self-supporting and self-stabilising. The repetition of the modules optimises pre-fabrication, pre-assembly and the use of modular construction.
The centre’s distinctive roof structure unites the different venues under a network of reticulated shells soaring above the four buildings. Interconnecting bridges and voids define a vibrant public plaza with views to the centre’s interiors as well as to the surrounding promenades with their cafés, restaurants and educational facilities. The design optimizes natural light in all public areas and enhances connectivity; creating engaging civic spaces for Zhuhai’s residents to enjoy throughout the day and evening.
Ramps invite visitors to the rooftop piazza where footbridges and stairs connect through a central void to each venue; glazed façades provide transparency and welcome the community onto its public plazas beneath the sweeping roof structure. An external amphitheatre on the west side of the centre allows for outdoor performances and activities.
The centre’s landscaping and surrounding lake are designed as integral elements within Zhuhai’s ‘sponge city’ initiative that targets the natural permeation, storage and re-use of at least 70% of the city’s rainwater; using aquatic flora and fauna to naturally filter contaminants. Humidity and soil-moisture sensors within the landscaping’s irrigation system will control and reduce water consumption.
Optimized for thermal performance, the double-insulated glazing of the building’s envelope is protected by the latticed roof canopy which incorporates perforated aluminium panels to provide external solar shading. The perforations within the panels vary in size to allow differing degrees of sunlight within the centre’s interior spaces in accordance to their programming requirements, solar gain and orientation.
Energy consumption and indoor air quality monitoring systems with intelligent control will automatically adjust the centre’s interior environments for optimal comfort and energy reduction. 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.
Designed to achieve two stars within China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard, the selection and procurement of the centre’s structural components has prioritized recycled materials.