Innovative Performing Arts Center Design Rises up Like a Colorful Volcano

Heatherwick Studio Design for Hainan Performing Arts Centre

Thanks to an innovative design that marries the formality of the opera with the informality of island culture, Heatherwick Studio won a competition to design the Hainan Performing Arts Centre. Hainan is an island province located at China's southernmost point and this new landmark takes its cues from the surrounding landscape. The colorful volcano-shaped canopy accommodates three performance spaces that will give life to a new cultural quarter in the city.

An opera house, concert hall, and theater are all enveloped in a dynamic canopy that acts as an inclusive space for the public. Heatherwick is using these canopies to allow people to mingle in an open-air village that is indicative of island culture. Whether they have a ticket or not, the public will be invited in to socialize. “Many opera houses are cut off from their surroundings and only come to life when a performance is on,” shared Heatherwick Studio Partner and Group Leader Eliot Postma. “We wanted to create a space that is an extension of the city and will contribute to life on the street throughout the day.”

This ambitious design is the firm's first opera and music venue. Inspired by the costumes, colors, and movement of the Hainanese Opera, as well as the surrounding volcanic landscape, the undulating façade is clad in vibrant tiles. When complete, the performing arts center will have a capacity of 3,800 people.

The center will also integrate arts, creative learning, rehearsal, and performance spaces. Aiming to attract international productions, the space will not only stage large-scale opera, ballet, and musicals, but also avant-garde dramas, fashion, and immersive multimedia performances.

To win the competition, which was organized by Haikou Tourism & Culture Investment Holding Group, Heatherwick was also attentive to sustainability. Through testing and data analysis it came up with a design that responds intelligently to the local ecology and climate, reducing energy consumption and costs while cooling the environment for visitors and users of the space.

With construction set to begin at the end of 2022, the project is certainly opening up a new creative avenue for the firm.

The Hainan Performing Arts Centre in China is Heatherwick Studio's first opera and music venue.

Heatherwick Studio Design for Hainan Performing Arts Centre

The façade is inspired by the volcanic landscape and the colors found in Hainanese Opera.

Heatherwick Studio Design for Hainan Performing Arts Centre

The large canopies create an open-air village that will allow the public to mingle, whether they have a ticket or not.

Heatherwick Studio Design for Hainan Performing Arts Centre

Heatherwick Studio: Website | Instagram

All images via Devisual. My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Heatherwick Studio.

Related Articles:

Photographers Capture NYC’s Newly Opened ‘Little Island’ Park

Billowing Floating Park Is Planned for the Former Site of the Summer Olympics in Seoul

Ambitious ‘1,000 Trees’ Architectural Development Creates Its Own Microclimate in Shanghai

Two Futuristic Towers Are Coming To Vancouver That Design-Loving City Dwellers Can Live In

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.

Sponsored Content