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ZHA’s Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre takes shape in China

ZHA’s Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre takes shape in China


Construction is progressing on the site of the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre, a major new cultural venue in China, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA). The project involves the integration of four distinct institutions: a large theater with a capacity of 1,200 people, a 500-seat multipurpose hall, a science center and an art museum. Symmetrically arranged, the venues are connected by a central plaza that serves as a common outdoor foyer surrounded by glass walls, promoting transparency and a sense of openness.

Envisioned by ZHA as a center for contemporary creativity, the project is located in the heart of the western ecological city of Jinwan District, where the recently built intercity railroad from Zhuhai Airport provides direct connections to its city center, as well as to the metropolises of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macau and Hong Kong. The distinctive roof structure of the center unites the many entities under a network of reticulated shells that rise above the four buildings. Echoing the chevron patterns of migratory birds flying over southern China, the steel lattice roofs over each site are configured by repetition, symmetry, and variation in scale, resulting in a composition of related elements that meet the different functional requirements of each building. The repetition of modules touches on prefabrication, preassembly and the use of modular construction. Meanwhile, the public plaza is defined by interconnected bridges and voids, which provide views of the entire site. Ramps invite visitors into the piazza, where walkways and stairs connect each corner through a central void. Elsewhere, an external amphitheater on the west side of the center allows for outdoor performances and activities. The design maximizes natural light in all public surfaces and improves connectivity – creating attractive civic spaces that people can enjoy throughout the day. According to the architects, the project’s landscaping and surrounding lake are designed as integral elements of Zhuhai’s Sponge City initiative, which aims to naturally infiltrate, store and reuse at least 70% of the city’s rainwater, using aquatic flora and fauna to naturally filter out contaminants. In addition, moisture and soil sensors in the irrigation system will monitor and reduce water consumption. Optimized for thermal performance, the envelope’s double-insulated glazing is protected by the lattice roof canopy, which incorporates perforated aluminum panels to provide external solar shading. Perforations in the panels vary in size to allow several degrees of sunlight into the interiors, depending on programming requirements, solar gain and orientation. Energy expenditure and indoor air quality control systems will automatically adjust the interior environments for optimal comfort and reduced usage, while waste heat recovery will be used to meet hot water demand with water saving devices connected to the project’s water recycling system. In February 2021, the steel truss canopy structure was installed on two of the four cultural areas of the center.

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