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
- Architects1-2: PES-Architects
- Location: Mawei New Town, Fuzhou, China
- Client: Fuzhou New Town Development Investment Group Co.,Ltd.
- Material: Ceramic, Steel
- Type: Opera house, Concert hall, Multi-functional Theatre, Art Exhibition hall, Cinema Center
- Area: Gross area 153.000m2
- Project Year: 2014 – 2018
- Photographs: © Marc Goodwin / Archmospheres, © Zhang Yong, © Lopochina
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
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.
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.
Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Floor Plan
Fuzhou Strait Culture And Art Centre Image Gallery
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
- Team: Pekka Salminen, Martin Lukasczyk, Lai Linli, CCEDGC Co. Ltd.