Curving cultural center's layered roofs form "sails in a sea breeze"
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has revealed plans for a new cultural district in China. The project will be arranged around a large cultural center that showcases the firm's trademark style and will be defined by an eye-catching series of curving layered roofs that reference the local topography and are likened to sails in a sea breeze by the firm.
We've no confirmation yet that it's definitely going ahead, but assuming it does, the Sanya Cultural District will be situated on the southern tip of Hainan Island, which is China's most southerly province, facing Sanya Bay. It will measure 409,000 sq m (roughly 4.4 million sq ft) and include some residences and offices, as well as hotels, shopping areas and dining amenities to serve tourists.
The cultural center will be the focus, however, and will host a performing arts theater and exhibition galleries in one building and a conference center in the other, as well as generous entrance lobbies in both. Both will also feature expansive glazing to maximize daylight inside and frame the view, and will include attractive timber interiors.
"A central axis through the masterplan directly links the new harborside district with the city's existing urbanism and divides the cultural programming of its performing arts theater and exhibition galleries from its commercial programming for conferences and trade fairs; both facilities share a new public square with sweeping views over the harbor that welcomes visitors, audiences and delegates to the events within," explained ZHA.
"The center's layered roofs feather outwards and cascade from their highest points along this axis, framing the entrance lobbies of the performing arts theater and the conference center. Visible throughout the harbor and from Sanya Bay, these roofs softly reflect sunlight and appear to float above the water like sails in a sea breeze, defining an architectural landmark of ascending geometries that echo the mountainous landscapes of Hainan's interior behind the city."
There will also be significant sustainable design. Rainwater collection systems will be installed on the large roof areas, plus solar panels will reduce the draw on the electricity grid. The project's orientation and landscaping will be carefully organized to optimize indirect sunlight and natural ventilation. A central cooling plant will make use of sea water for energy efficient temperature control and a smart building management system will automatically adjust shading, lighting and ventilation to balance comfort and efficiency.
Additionally, building materials will be sourced from certified sustainable forests and selected for their resilience to local coastal weather conditions without chemical treatments. Recycled materials will also be used.
ZHA has really gone all-in on China under current head Patrik Schumacher and many of the high-profile studio's most recent projects have been located there, including the Daxia Tower, Wuhan Taikang Financial Centre, and Beijing Daxing International Airport.