In December 2012, the project team at ECADI won the bid for the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts at one stroke, thus becoming the original creator of the largest performing arts center in China. On completion of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, recalling the past from project bidding till today, from the effusive excitement after winning the bid to a peaceful mind for embracing fruition upon project completion, each member in the design team has reaped the harvest of being “more” mature.
▼大剧院远眺，view from distance
Culture needs to be cultivated, and the prosperity of the culture industry needs outside stimulation to trigger corresponding changes. The Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts will play a critical role in improving the cultural atmosphere of Nanjing and even the entire Jiangsu Province.
The “Lotus Leaf & Water Drops” on the Bank of the Yangtze River
The Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts is situated on the bank of the Yangtze River, in the core district of Hexi New Town, City of Nanjing. As the second largest CBD in East China, Hexi New Town takes the two axes – a horizontal and a vertical (a cultural axis and a business axis) – as its main frame. The performing arts center is located at the western end of the cultural axis that stretches from the east to the west along the bank of the Yangtze River, facing the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center across the axis. The project site is adjacent to Jiangsu Women & Children Activity Center, Jinling Library, International Cathedral, Yilanzhai Art Museum, as well as Nanjing Metro Olympic Sports Center Station and Songhuajiang Road Station on the east, with Mengdu Street and Aoti Street on the north and south respectively, and facing the Binjiang Park across the side road of Yangzijiang Avenue (Binjing Express Way) on the west.This site is of great importance to both natural landscape and urban space. From the perspective of natural landscape, the building is situated on the bank of the Yangtze River which is characterized by ebb and flow, so it needs to blend in with the Binjiang Park in the vicinity; from the perspective of urban space, as the finishing touch along the cultural axis at the western end, the building layout has to be relatively compact, but cannot be too complete, or it will disrupt the continuity of the axis. As a result, the aesthetic implication of “Water” was carried throughout the whole design process of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, and an architectural layout featuring eccentric modules is applied to suit the site.
▼大剧院毗邻长江，与奥体中心隔轴相望，The performing arts center is located at the bank of the Yangtze River, facing the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center across the axis.
The Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts measures 370 meters long from north to south, and 260 meters wide from east to west, with a cornice of as high as 27 meters. Boasting a total floor area of 261,483sqm, the project features four water drop-like structures which are connected by dynamic curves to form an integral whole. The “water drop” like styling serves as the basic structural element of the building, of which the bigger top and smaller bottom showcase a “stretching effect” that’s full of tension. Visually, the relationship among these structural units has basically brought the large expanse of the site environment under control. These “water drops” incline from the top towards the center and show a petal-like texture on building façade, creating an interesting effect that seems like “water drops” rolling on a “lotus leaf”.
▼由四个“水滴”状体量组成，浑然一体的流线形体，Four water drop-like structures connected by dynamic curves to form an integral whole
These “water drops”, big or small, ingeniously house the Opera Hall, Music Hall, Drama Hall, Integrated Arts Hall, Multi-Function Hall, as well as the shared space among the halls and the supporting service area, i.e. covering a total of seven areas. On the surface of the building, soft titanium panels are employed. In addition, “streamers” made from curved glass are embedded in the metal façade, so when interior lights shine through the glass, the building will appear to be more vibrant and changeable, sparkling under the curtain of night.
Thoughts on Building Publicness
As early as the initial design stage of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, one of the most important key words was the Publicness of the building. Cui Zhongfang, Design Principal of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts project & Associate Chief Architect of ECADI said, “A cultural building should not be an ‘icy beauty’, but needs to be approachable and accessible to the public. Therefore, we would have wanted the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts to be able to attract the engagement of more people. The building should be able to meet the needs of different groups of people, from audience, to operators and the general public, so that it will become an authentic focus. In addition, each cultural building should take on the important task of leading cultural development. We hope, the culture of this region will witness a rapid and remarkable development through this building.”
▼让空间保持流动的意态，the space is endowed with a flowing artistic conception
In the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, similar shapes are combined to form a powerful cohesion; through the design of the accessible platform for public activities, the space is endowed with a flowing artistic conception; the expansion of the site and the advantage in height provide civilians with a more open and more vigorous space for social intercourse and experience, which demonstrates the publicness of this cultural building. The design of the two sequential spaces that connect the inside with the outside can also reflect the design team’s considerations for the publicness of the building. The main sequential space is composed of a series of important interior and exterior spaces, which link up the Opera Hall, Music Hall, Drama Hall, Multi-Function Hall and Integrated Arts Hall, and guide the audience’s mood towards the wonderful performance via progressive spatial changes.
The auxiliary sequential space is composed of a series of supporting interior and exterior spaces, which spread along the “Hexi Cultural Axis” and the oval outdoor central plaza, as a supplement to the main sequential space. Besides, the north-south transportation function located at the outdoor central plaza serves the function of a core link that connects the underground parking lot, ground-floor plaza, public hall, as well as the outdoor public activity platform, keeping the two sequential spaces organically connected. Though mutually independent, the inside and the outside are also organically connected. Both ends of the platform extend outwards to blend in with the ground, which not only meets the needs for independent management & operation of each part, but also provides a space for public activity for the people.
▼人民大会堂，Great Hall of the People
▼国际会议厅，International conference hall
Reflections upon Project Completion
The design team of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts has acquired rich experience and been widely recognized throughout the industry through its 17-year in-depth cultivation in the specialized design of performing arts buildings. From the Suzhou Culture & Arts Center and Shanghai Oriental Art Center in the early stage, to Qingdao Grand Theater and Tianjin Grand Theater, the conception and completion of each project represents a process of continuous exploration and continuous improvement. As another large-scale performing arts project won by ECADI by its original design, the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts is of special significance for designers – securing the original design of this project is not only by luck, but is more a matter of course.
According to Cui Zhongfang, “The task is only half done upon completion of the building, and it will not be deemed a true success until the building is able to receive positive comments from both inside and outside the industry after being put into operation. Also, building is a “living organism”. What architects do is to help it avoid congenital deficiency and maintain a stronger viability when it is born. During the subsequent long-term operation, designers have to stay updated and follow up on its maintenance.”
▼首层平面图，Ground floor plan
▼三层平面图，Third floor plan
Constructor: Construction Headquarters of the Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts Project
Location: Intersection of Aoti Street, Mengdu Street & Yangzijinag Avenue, Hexi District of Nanjing
Designed/Completed in: Aug. 2012/May 2017
Total Floor Area: 26,482.6sqm
Height/Stories: 47.185m (7 stories above the ground/1 story below the ground)
Floor Area Ratio: 0.844
Designer: ECADI of Arcplus Group
Project Team Leaders:
Architecture: Cui Zhongfang, Tian Yuan, Mu Qing, He Zhipeng, Guo Hang, Dong Yongbo;
Structure: Rui Mingzhuo, Li Lishu, Hong Xiaoyong;
M&E: Liang Baochun, Liu Lan, Yu Hongfang, Wang Xiao’an, Qian Cuiwen;
Project Manager: Fang Chao;
Photo by:Jia Fang、Arcplus Group