Sanya Cultural District by ZHA

The city of Sanya in China, has selected Zaha Hadid Architects as the winner of the competition for the design of the city’s new harborside cultural district. The new development, measuring a total of 409,000 square meters of built area, aims to become a central location for Sanya’s cultural life, providing diverse programming for performing arts, theater, exhibition galleries, conferences, and commercial trade fairs. The district’s diverse program is completed with city-center residences, hotels, shopping, and dining amenities.





The fluid shape of the buildings creates a transition from the tropical waters of Sanya Bay to the urban fabric of the city. The image of the development is defined by the central axis, which also defines the internal functional distribution, with one side dedicated to performing arts and exhibitions and the other to commercial programming for conferences and fair trades. Between the two facilities, a public square opens views towards the harbor. The layered roof structure, inspired by the movement of sails in the sea breeze, cascades from the central axis and frames the entrance lobbies of the performing arts theater and conference center. Public plazas, gardens, marinas, and a harborside boardwalk are also integrated into the design.





Given Hainan’s tropical climate, the cultural district’s design takes into consideration the natural factors to adjust the orientation, composition, and landscaping to optimize natural ventilation and sunlight. Shading, lighting, and ventilation will be optimized using a smart building management system, while local and recycled materials will be prioritized according to the architects, including timber cladding sourced from certified sustainable forests.






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