Aerial View - Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre / PES-Architects

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

Completed in 2018, the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre designed by PES-Architects is a modern landmark in an ancient city with a longstanding cultural heritage. The center’s unique design was inspired by fragrant jasmine flowers, and it is a stunning showcase of ceramic as a building material.

Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Technical Information

Dividing the large complex into smaller units gives the Centre a more human scale and makes it easy for users to navigate both indoors and outdoors.

– Pekka Salminen

Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Photographs
The five main buildings (Jasmine Petals), as seen from the Minjiang River.

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

River exterior

© LOPO China

White Ceramic Facade - Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre / PES-Architects

© LOPO China

The back side of the buildings is clad with 80x40cm large ceramic plate elements.

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

The facades are entirely clad with ceramic elements. The glazed façade of the venue foyers called the “Curved Galleries” are shaded on the exterior by white ceramic baguettes with a lens shaped profile

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

The white ceramic louvers are positioned so as to maximize the shading effect, and to miminize heat gain from the sunlight. Each louver is 1,8m long.

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

PES-Architects was commissioned to design the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre after winning an international competition in 2013. Design chief Pekka Salminen wanted the 150,000 square meter project area, which includes five main buildings, linking concourses and terraces, and gardens, to be integrated with the surrounding landscape and cultural elements. That includes the river and the Mahangzhou island natural reserve.

Five Buildings For Five Petals

Five-petalled jasmine, the city’s official flower, provided the starting point for the design of the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre. This may not be apparent from ground level, but when seen from above, the floral inspiration becomes apparent.

The five buildings that comprise the center reference the five petals of a single jasmine flower. The buildings, clad in terracotta façade panels and baguette louvers, include a 700-seat multi-purpose theatre, a 1600-seat opera house, a 1000-seat concert hall, an art museum, and a film and television center. A Cultural Concourse and a terrace connect the main buildings.

One of the most notable aspects of the center is that it includes the biggest single-layer steel shell grid construction area and shell body grid span (165m long and 90m wide) in China. At 64.35m, the opera house is the center’s tallest building. Above ground, the grid covers an area of 33,821 square meters and it has a support column 41m high. Altogether, the steel components weigh an incredible 11.2 tons.

Ceramic Shines At The Centre

Arguably one of the most noticeable features of the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre is the use of white ceramic to clad the buildings and to provide shading. The results are a cohesive appearance that reflects the brilliant white of jasmine flowers, and an energy-efficient way of cooling the buildings.

The outer walls of the buildings are clad with terracotta façade panels manufactured by LOPO China. The same company also supplied the terracotta baguette sunshade louvers used to shade the buildings’ glass façades from direct sunlight. The use of terracotta at the center is an excellent demonstration of its durability as well as its design flexibility.
The architects paid special attention to the louvered façade and even went as far as developing a computer script to calculate the angle of, as well as the distance between, the louvers that offer the best shading. Not every part of the buildings required shading, so the louvers in those areas were removed to enhance the views from inside.

Ceramic is used as the project’s main material due to its significance in the historical context of the maritime silk road trade connection between China and the rest of the world.

– PES-Architects

Not limited to the façades, ceramic is also the main material used inside the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre. The material is used to great effect inside the concourse, which also features marble and concrete reinforced by fiberglass. The columns that mushroom upwards house the lifts as well as ventilation equipment.

The use of ceramics inside the buildings is seen at its best in the opera house. The interior wall, which was designed as a continuum, was created in collaboration with Taiwanese ceramic artist Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih. The 3,200 square meter China White skin, which is decorated with 13 different shapes as well as 1.5 million ceramic jasmine petals, has both artistic and acoustic merit.

Interior Photographs
The Opera Hall is designed for a 1600 seat audience. The shape is fully generated with the help of acoustic scripting tools, and the complex 3000m2 double-curved surface is clad with about 1.5 million custom developed ceramic tiles.

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

The Concert Hall is designed for a 1000 seat audience. Its walls are in the large scale composed of fractions of sphere surfaces, facing the audience seating area, and providing for the most functional acoustical shaping of the room

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

The Multipurpose Hall is designed for a 700 seat audience. The walls are clad with solid CNC cut bamboo blocks, shaped according to the acoustic needs. The roof is equipped with a flexible cable net ceiling to enable a flexible usage of lighting and other technical equipment.

© Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres

Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Floor Plan
Site Plan

© PES-Architects

Ground Level

© PES-Architects

Floor Plan - Terrace

© PES-Architects

Concert Hall Section

© PES-Architects

Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Image Gallery
About PES-Architects

The architectural firm received the 2019-2020 Asia Pacific Property Award for the best public service architecture in China for the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre.
Other works from PES-Architects 

  1. Team: Pekka Salminen, Martin Lukasczyk, Lai Linli, CCEDGC Co. Ltd.