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Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

Contradicting early predictions, Donald Trump won the US Election 2016 to become the next President

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2016 by vincentloy

I kept refreshing news website today to check on the updated results of the election for the United States presidency as live updates keep rolling in. Eventhough the election is supposed to be none of my business since I’m not an American, but we have to certainly admit the impact this election may have to the world’s economy and politics from some major political decisions in future.

The two candidates running for the top post are Hillary Clinton of Democratic Party and Donald Trump of Republican Party. The current President, Barack Obama is of course supporting Clinton since they are in the same party. Before the elections, there were many early polls and predictions going on and most of them were expecting Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, to win this election. Then, as the final days before the election arrive, people are predicting a much tighter race as Trump zooms ahead in popularity.

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And then, election came and the result is now made known. Donald Trump won the election and will become the 45th President of the United States of America from January 2017 onward. He had won over 270 seats required while Clinton has nothing to do besides than accepting this shocking defeat. She could not make history by becoming the first female president of the country unfortunately.

I don’t really like both of them as the candidates for this top post. I don’t think both are capable for this job. Electing either one of them is considered a joke for me. Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who suddenly ventured into politics and made a lot of harsh and racist remarks. Hillary Clinton, a former president’s wife who is physically weak and couldn’t propose something really good for the country. But if you let me to vote, I’ll pick Clinton.

But right now in reality, Donald Trump won. He better think before he act from now on because he now has a real huge responsibility as his actions will not only impact his country but also may affect the whole world. He immediately promised he will go a great job (we will see) after election result confirmed that he will be heading successfully to the White House.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

7 Cool Architectural Visualization Styles

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I found a very interesting article that discusses the seven most popular architectural visualization styles produced by architectural firms or students out there. I myself is not good in computer renderings and so I’m very excited to look at the different styles and methods used to enhance rendering of each particular projects. I wish to learn (and hopefully) master rendering skills in near future which would be very beneficial especially when I step out to the working world after my graduation.

I would like to share the article below which is originally from Architizer at this link below:

http://architizer.com/blog/7-most-common-architectural-visualization-styles/

There was a time when no self-respecting rendering would allow itself to be seen in public without a zeppelin hovering somewhere in its desaturated sky. Supermodels in haute couture garments strutted across opera foyers, uninterested expressions and blasé attitudes adding to the exclusivity of the space. These gimmicks are still widely used, but since its early days architectural rendering has seen major technical advancements that allowed it to appropriate cinematic techniques relying on color, lighting, framing, composition, and angles to convey moods. This disciplinary overlap between architecture and film is fundamental in the use of similar software and modeling techniques and has brought the two closer through the idea of storytelling, a notion inherent to both disciplines. In architectural rendering, if the spirit or the main feeling isn’t persuasive and engaging enough, the function of images is reduced to regurgitating information already provided through drawings and schematics.

An overabundance of visual content, brought on partly by the democratization of architectural publishing, has produced an almost pornographic fixation on architectural representation, rendering techniques in particular. Computer generated imagery is no longer an intermediary between an idea and its realization, but a finished product on its own. Different rendering genres have emerged over the years, similar in approach and style to recognizable cinematic tropes.

The Mad Max

City lights dimmed, the “urban wasteland” awaits the appearance of the new development whose lights seem to be the only sign of life for miles around.

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Eleftheria Square by Zaha Hadid Architects, via Skyscrapercity

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Phoenix Towers by Chetwoods Architects

The Whodunit

These renderings sport a menacing atmosphere achieved by desaturating the image or using only dark blue and green tones. Stormy skies, shadowy figures, and strong contrasts create tension that transforms spaces into potential film noir crime scenes.

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Kaohsiung Port Terminal by RTA-Office

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Park51 by Soma Architects

The David

The David flaunts its perfectly mapped textures, lifelike grass, and clinically precise reflections to the point that, like the android boy David in Spielberg’s A.I., the architecture looks a bit too perfect.

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The Quest by Ström Architects

Paranormal Activity

Blended so well into their surroundings, these projects are practically not there. Buildings appear as dreamy echoes of themselves held up by light and memory, instead of concrete pillars and slabs.

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Camellian Opera House by Matteo Cainer Architects

The Gondry

The stubborn collage technique may feel anachronistic but, every so often, it makes a powerful comeback. The combination of photos, renderings and drawing can be surprisingly effective and reminds of Michel Gondry’s distinctive visual style. In its most experimental form The Gondry may include unicorns, movie stars, space ships, and a cutout photo of Le Corbusier.

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Boulders Resort by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Theodore

The Theodore could be a subcategory of Paranormal Activity, but, unlike the latter, it is found mostly among representations of interiors. Airy spaces and more than generous amounts of diffuse lighting make one want to lay back in an armchair and dictate a heartfelt love letter, just like Theodore in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

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Green Valley by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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The Katherine Heigl

Romantic snowbound streets, palpable silence of the first snow, kids having fun, couples holding hands, and a building in the background. The Katherine Heigl promises a happy ending and a lighthearthed story enacted in and around the omnipresent new building. This category includes sunsets, images whose large portions show meadows, forests, parks, and all kinds of pastoral scenery.

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Le Brassus by BIG

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Samaranch Memorial Museum by HAO Holm Architecture Office

Each styles above has their uniqueness and there is none than is better than the others because it all depends on the nature of the individual projects as well as the preferences by the visualizers. Well, there may be even some few more visualization styles out there that are not mentioned here. If you know about it, you can share it in the comments section.

(Information and images in this post are from the following source: http://architizer.com/blog/7-most-common-architectural-visualization-styles/)

 

World’s 10 Tallest Buildings in 2016.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2016 by vincentloy

It’s been quite some time since I last compiled a list of the world’s top ten tallest buildings. I think the last time I worked on that was about a year or two ago and I’m very sure that the data in that particular post would be inaccurate as of now due to the world’s high interest on building supertall skyscrapers in recent years. So, if you are looking for the latest and the most accurate list of world’s top 10 tallest buildings as of June 2016, this is the right place to be.

The list only includes buildings (structures that contain mostly habitable or functional floors) and excludes tv masts, telecommunication or observation towers, antennas, etc. This list also includes the buildings that are still under construction but have already topped out (reached final height).

< 1 > Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

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< 2 > Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 121 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

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< 3 > Makkah Clock Royal Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Makkah, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

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< 4 > Ping An International Finance Center, 599 metres, 116 floors, Shenzhen, China (topped out, to be completed in 2016).

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< 5 > Lotte World Tower, 556 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (topped out, to be completed in 2016).

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< 6 > One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States of America (completed in 2014).

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< 7 > CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 116 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

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< 8 > Taipei 101, 509 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

台北101, 台灣台北 (Taipei 101 and skyline, Taipei, Taiwan)

< 9 > Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

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< 10 > International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 118 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

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Burj Khalifa remains as the world’s tallest building, holding on to the title for the 6th year. It is also still the world’s tallest man-made structure and is likely to remain at the top of the list for another few years before being taken over by Kingdom Tower (now under construction in Jeddah) in 2020. Half of the 10 buildings in this list above are in China, further displaying the country’s massive economic boom and interest on constructing tall buildings. Also discovered from the list above is that for the next newly completed building to be able to be ranked in the world’s 10 tallest, it has to be at least 500 metres high. 500 metres (above 100 floors as well) is now the minimum mark to get into top 10 tallest’s ranking. Back in 10 years, 400 metres is the mark. Now, an extra 100 for that.

My beloved Petronas Twin Towers are out of the list since they are only 452 metres tall. They are now placed at 11th (and 12th) tallest. Goldin Finance 117, a tower planned for completion this year and nears topping out in Tianjin, China is currently on-hold and is awaiting funding. Its completion date is now pushed to end of year 2017. The tower is expected to reach final height of 597 metres (117 floors) and will be the 5th tallest once topped out either by end of the year or early next year.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

KL crossed a milestone by having 20 buildings in the city each exceeding 200 metres high.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by vincentloy

Not many cities in this world could have over 20 buildings that are each at least 200 metres high respectively. To make it into that list, I can only think of some mega cities like New York, Hong Kong, Chicago, Shanghai, Dubai, Tokyo, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing. And by 2016, my home-city, Kuala Lumpur will become the 10th city in the world to join the list with exactly 20 buildings that are each over 200 metres high in the capital of Malaysia.

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Yes, till 2016, only 10 cities crossed over this milestone and I’m quite excited that KL is part of it. We also love to build tall here in Kuala Lumpur, a trend that is particularly popular in rising cities in China as well as in Dubai nowadays. Having a lot of tall buildings in the city helps to create more city landmarks as well as enhancing the overall skyline. This also provides an ideal solution to short amount of land for development especially in dense urban areas.

Here below is the list of the current top 20 tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that includes the architecturally topped-out buildings, but not including television or sightseeing towers. You can see the building in the 20th place hit the 200-metres mark precisely to help push the city to join the 10-city club as mentioned above.

1 & 2 – Petronas Twin Towers (452 metres, 88 floors each, built in 1998, former world’s tallest buildings and current world’s tallest twin buildings)

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3 – Telekom Tower (310 metres, 55 floors, built in 2001)

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4 – Ilham Baru Tower (274 metres, 60 floors, built in 2015)

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5 – Petronas Tower 3 (267 metres, 60 floors, built in 2012)

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6 – Maybank Tower (244 metres, 50 floors, built in 1988, former city’s tallest building)

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7 – Banyan Tree Signatures (240 metres, 55 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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8 – Vista Tower (238 metres, 60 floors, built in 1994)

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9 – Vortex Tower (235 metres, 58 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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10 – Felda Tower (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2012)

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11 – Naza Tower 1 (216 metres, 50 floors, built in 2015)

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12 – Maxis Tower (212 metres, 49 floors, built in 1998)

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13 – AmBank Tower (210 metres, 50 floors, built in 1998)

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14 – St. Regis Hotel & Residences (205 metres, 48 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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15 – The Troika Tower 3 (204 metres, 50 floors, built in 2010, tallest city’s full residential building)

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16 & 17 – Berjaya Times Square Tower A & B (203 metres, 48 floors each, built in 2003)

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18 – K Residence (202 metres, 52 floors, built in 2008)

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19 – Lot G Office Towers (200 metres, 45 floors, built in 2013)

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20 – Le Nouvel Tower 1 (200 metres, 49 floors, architecturally topped-out)

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There are actually several high-rise buildings completed recently along KL Sentral region of which their height would be around 190 metres to 200 metres respectively. However, there isn’t a formal database to confirm on this. Some also speculated that the Le Nouvel Tower 1 (the 20th tallest) is actually 199 metres tall, and not 200 metres. Well, there is only a 1 metre difference..so let’s just get over it. In few more years, there would be several more much taller buildings to be constructed in the city, particularly the city’s next tallest building, the PNB 118 Tower that will go beyond 600-metres mark once built.

(Information above is correct as of April 2016. Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

5 Best City Skylines of Australia.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2016 by vincentloy

Australia is now my home for at least two years. It is a huge country but it has much lesser population to my surprise. It has almost similar number of citizens with my country, Malaysia which is actually much smaller in size of its land. Currently, I’m based in Perth for my postgraduate study and so far, I have been enjoying the life over here in this new environment. I also get to know more about this fantastic nation that is home to quite a number of beautiful cities. I’m the one who like to compare city skylines and I find this is a nice time for me to compile a list to rank the best city skylines in Australia. Only 5 cities get contend here:

1 – Sydney, New South Wales.

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2 – Melbourne, Victoria.

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3 – Brisbane, Queensland.

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4 – Perth, Western Australia.

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5 – Gold Coast, Queensland.

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Out of the 5 cities above, I have visited three; Sydney and Melbourne during my Chinese New Year trip early this year with my family, and of course, Perth, the city I’m living in right now. Would love to check out the other two; Brisbane and Gold Coast soon. Eventhough Perth is a smaller city especially when compared to Sydney or Melbourne, but the city still features interesting and picturesque skyline despite with lesser buildings due to its three iconic tallest buildings within close proximity as well as the beautiful Swan River that would make a perfect front for a breathtaking visual of the city. On the other hand, Melbourne has actually more skyscrapers than Sydney but the latter still topped this ranking because of Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. These two national landmarks are simply too magnificent and helped immensely to enhance Sydney’s skyline. Anyway, I think my home city, Kuala Lumpur still topped them all.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

7 Sensational Modern Theaters in China.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I found an article to be very interesting as it looks into six very good-looking contemporary opera houses in China. Hence, I would like to share the article here below:

Pure Architectural Theater: 6 Sensational Chinese Opera Houses.

As China’s presence on the global economic stage has steadily risen over the past couple decades, so too has its desire to match its outsize economic influence with equally robust cultural institutions. Despite being one of the world’s biggest economies and a producer of the vast majority of consumer goods, China has been less recognized for its cultural output including the performing arts, theater and opera than for its booming population and rapidly expanding cities. But as China continues to grow its economic stature, inhabitants and cities for the near future, it also needs to provide the cultural space for these forces to express themselves.

The opera house is one architectural intervention for a city, state or culture to manifest its values and ambitions and in doing so proclaim a degree of cultivation and artistic cachet. In Western Europe, the opera house emerged in the 17th century, often financed by noblemen and wealthy merchants looking to solidify their cultural hegemony. This began to change in the 19th century, as opera houses became more democratic spaces financed by public institutions.

While this rich history is absent in China, we can see similar impulses behind the following collection of contemporary opera houses. These spanking new facilities provide spaces not only for opera, but a number of performing arts enjoyed by the public. Furthermore, they are a physical manifestation of the powerful forces of the country’s economy, the untapped cultural potential of the public, and the architectural destination-making pioneered by Gehry’s Bilbao. These Chinese opera houses reinterpret this enduring cultural institution for a new era and are tailored to a region witnessing dramatic physical, social and material transformations.

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Dalian International Conference Center by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Dalian, China

The multifaceted, scaled aluminum façade on this Northern Chinese port city’s opera house contains within it a conference space for 2,500, a smaller 1,400-person theater and flexible exhibition spaces. The billowing and sinuous forms of the building pierced by unexpected angles are typical of Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Deconstructivist approach to architecture and well-suited to this changing typology.

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Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects, Guangzhou, China

Zaha Hadid’s similarly dramatic Guangzhou opera house is one of the most well-known realizations of China’s drive to jumpstart its urban cultural development. Set in one of the country’s largest megacities along the Pearl River, the building features two smoothed spatial “pebbles” clad in triangular granite and glass panels supported by a webbed steel frame that leaps into intrepid forms.

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Harbin Opera House by MAD, Harbin, China

Occupying a gigantic site of almost 450 acres along the Songhua River, this three-petaled opera house, cultural center and public outdoor space is composed of ascending curvilinear forms that seem to sprout from the wetland landscape and warmly envelop patrons from the elements. The white aluminum cladding of the exterior mirrors the harsh winter climate, while the seemingly hand-sculpted Manchurian ash of the auditorium provides a cozy counterpart.

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Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects, Wuxi, China

A series of structural steel roof wings overhang the cubic volumes of this multipurpose opera house and feature LED-lit undersides of perforated metal. The terraced pavilions of the entrance and outdoor spaces are illuminated by decorative columns that continue into the lobby to become structural supports. The design incorporates elements of traditional temples and the crystalline forms inspired by Finnish geography.

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Grand Theater Tianjin by gmp – von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners Architects, Tianjin, China

The semicircular roofline of this theater extends from a stone public plaza and opens up towards the head of the adjacent lake. The three volumes of the building are sheltered by this cantilevered form that fans out like a traditional bandshell and exposes the functional spaces towards the outdoors.

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Bayuquan Theater by Shanghai Dushe Architectural Design DSD, Bayuquan, Yingkou, China

This smaller-scale opera house was designed with traditional Chinese theater in mind, and the bent thatches of the aluminum façade recall the billowing fabrics in the classic performances. The building is organized like a traditional theater, but can also be rotated and shifted according to programmatic needs.

The article above came from this original source (including the images):

http://architizer.com/blog/chinese-opera-houses/.

However, I think the author of that article must have left out the…

National Centre for the Performing Arts by Paul Andreu, Beijing, China.

It is nicknamed ‘Giant Egg’ due to its form. The centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake. This is another amazing opera house in China that is deserving to be in that list too.

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(Image by Vaughan Jordan)

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(Image by SilverKris)