Shenzhen Opera House (The Light of the Sea), China

The International Architectural Design Competition for Shenzhen Opera House has announced the selection of the proposal Light of the Sea submitted by Jean Nouvel as the first-prize winner. Located in Shenzhen Bay Coastal Leisure Belt, on a 175,000 m2 site, the Shenzhen Opera House has a gross floor area of 222,000 m2. Envisioned as a “new platform for international cultural exchange, a new landmark of art and culture in Shenzhen, and an art parlor for Shenzhen citizens”, this intervention seeks to become top-ranking cultural facilities of this new era.





Entitled Light of the Sea, the proposal puts in place a curved, light, transparent, and floating roof, under which performance spaces such as 2,300-seat opera hall, 1,800-seat concert theatre and an 800-seat venue are placed. Close to the sea, these functions extend towards the coast and are connected by a public path and visual corridor. Alongside the main performance halls, the sinuous Shenzhen Opera House will also contain a multifunctional theatre with 400 seats, cultural spaces for the public and backstage areas including apartments for performers and offices.





The sea will be both around you and over you. This explains more clearly why the main foyer has to be made of a noble, precious and luminous material that spells the meeting of sea and music and light. Mother-of-pearl is a bright and lustrous light-element that looks wet when dry. As such, mother-of-pearl will feature in the Opera House auditorium in an irregular, rhythmic way, highlighting the curve of the balconies or the acoustic geometries of the walls.





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