In 2013, the Fuzhou Government hosted an international invited competition for the Strait Culture and Art Centre to strengthen the cultural image of the city and Mawei New Town development. In PES-Architects’ winning entry, the cultural programmes of the Centre are complemented with commercial and entertainment services to create a modern hybrid complex.
Located in Mawei New Town, facing the Minjiang River, the Strait Culture and Arts Centre functions as a connective device. It connects cities and communities along and over the Taiwan Strait. It connects the Fuzhou New City Development and its waterways to the Minjiang River and the natural environment. And, finally, it connects people to culture.
The design takes inspiration from the petals of a jasmine blossom, Fuzhou’s city flower. This is manifested in the formal language and colour of the architecture. The five jasmine petal venues — opera house, concert hall, multi-functional theatre, art exhibition hall and cinema centre — are linked by a Cultural Concourse and a large roof terrace. The terrace is accessible via two ramps from the Jasmine Gardens and the Central Jasmine Plaza, providing a seamless connection from the complex to the Minjiang riverfront. A shopping gallery at the Liangcuo flood river level links the landscape to the interiors and connects the metro station and the Centre.
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. Each building has a core area — a semi-public gallery that follows the curvature of the main façade — that integrates the public interior space with the landscape of the surrounding Jasmine Gardens and further with the Mahangzhou island natural reserve.
Ceramic is used as the project’s main material due to its significance in the historical context of the maritime Silk Road. PES-Architects worked with Taiwanese ceramic artist Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih to design the ceramic interior for the opera and concert auditoriums according to acoustical demands, using the legendary “China White” material and new technology. Two types of acoustic panels were developed together with the acousticians: an engraved panel and a mosaic tile panel. These are adaptable to the topographical surfaces required to achieve high quality acoustics as well as the desired appearance.
The Multipurpose Hall is clad with solid CNC-cut bamboo blocks. Bamboo is also used as flooring and in other surfaces and details throughout the complex.
The façades are clad with white ceramic tiles and louvres. The louvre section on the main façade is lens-shaped, relating to the form used in the massing of the buildings and maximising the shading capacity of the glass façade. Complex scripting was used to determine the optimal angle and distance between the louvres.
Local architect: CCEDGC Co.,Ltd.
Photos: Marc Goodwin, Virgile Simon Bertrand, Zhang Yong