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Heatherwick reveals Volcano-inspired opera house designs for Hainan

Heatherwick Studio has revealed its designs for an opera house in Hainan, China
The project is being developed by Haikou Tourism & Culture Investment Holding Group
The cultural complex will house three performance spaces – an opera house, a concert hall and a theatre
Construction is expected to start towards the end of 2022
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Heatherwick Studio has revealed its designs for an opera house and performing arts centre for the island province of Hainan in China.

The architects were chosen for the project by Haikou Tourism & Culture Investment Holding Group, which wants to develop the building as the anchor for a new cultural quarter in the island’s capital, Haikou.

The as-yet-unnamed cultural complex will house three performance spaces – an opera house, a concert hall and a theatre.

It will have a capacity for 3,800 people and integrate arts, creative, learning, rehearsal and performance spaces.

Heatherwick's plans for the building – the first opera house the studio has designed – will see all three spaces come together as a focal point under a sweeping canopy, which partly references the island’s geology.

“Our inspiration came from the volcanic landscape and the costumes, colours and movement of Hainanese Opera,” said Eliot Postma, partner and group leader at Heatherwick Studio.

“Many opera houses are cut off from their surroundings and only come to life when a performance is on. We wanted to create a space that is an extension of the city and will contribute to life on the street throughout the day.

“As a result, the canopy shelters a mix of different spaces that form an open-air village, of which the halls are a part. It blends the formality of performance with the informality of island culture, making opera more accessible and offering everyone a space to meet whether you have a ticket or not.”

The venue will be designed to be able to stage international productions that range from large-scale opera, ballet and musicals to avant-garde drama, fashion and immersive multimedia performance.

It will form a key component of the Jiangdong cultural quarter, located just east of the historic city centre.

Construction is expected to start towards the end of 2022.

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Heatherwick Studio has revealed its designs for an opera house and performing arts centre for the island province of Hainan in China.
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