Located in Mawei New Town, facing the Minjiang River, the Strait Culture and Art Centre is about connections. It connects cities and communities along and over the Taiwan Strait. It connects the Fuzhou Mawei New City Development and its waterways to the Minjiang River and the natural environment. And, finally, it connects people to culture.
The design takes inspiration from the petals of jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou. The flower is manifested in the formal language and colour of the architecture. The five jasmine petal venues – opera house, concert hall, multi-functional theatre, art exhibition hall and cinema centre – are linked by a Cultural Concourse and a large roof terrace. The roof terrace is accessible via two ramps from the Jasmine Gardens as well as from the Central Jasmine Plaza, providing a seamless connection from the complex to the riverfront of the Minjiang River. On the underground level, a “shopping river” is located along the Liangcuo flood river to connect the landscape to the interiors, as well as providing a connection between the metro station and the Centre.
Dividing the large complex into smaller units gives the Centre a more human scale and makes it easy for users to navigate both indoors and outdoors. Each building has a core area – a semi-public, curved gallery that follows the curvature of the main façade – that integrates the public interior space with the landscape of the Jasmine Gardens around the building and further with the Mahangzhou island natural reserve in front of the Centre.
Ceramic is used as the project’s main material due to its significance in the historical context of the maritime Silk Road trade connection between China and the rest of the world. PES-Architects worked with Taiwanese ceramic artist Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih to design the artistic ceramic interior for two main auditoriums according to acoustical demands, using the legendary “China White” material and new technology. All façades are clad with white ceramic tiles and louvres, while both the opera hall and concert hall showcase this cultural material in innovative and creative ways in the acoustic wall surface.
The interior surfaces of the opera hall and concert hall are clad with topographical ceramic panels. Based on extensive studies carried out with the acousticians, two types of acoustic panels were developed: an engraved panel and a mosaic tile panel. Both panels are adaptable to the topographical surfaces that are required to achieve high-quality acoustics, as well as the visual language of the design. The walls of the multi-functional theatre are clad with solid CNC-cut bamboo blocks, also shaped according to acoustic needs.
The main façade ceramic louvre section is lens-shaped, relating to the form used in the massing of the buildings. This also maximizes the shading capacity of the vast glass façade. The distance and angle of the louvres have also been studied with the help of complex scripting in order to achieve the optimal angle and distance between the louvres.
The five “jasmine petal” buildings feature a solid white ceramic façade on the back side and a more transparent white ceramic louvre façade on the main façade side. This openness provides for a view inwards into the curved galleries that join all five buildings. Especially after dark, the interior bamboo wall creates a deep secondary façade layer behind the white ceramic screen.
The exterior appearance in the evening highlights this dual facade effect. Above a height of seven metres, each ceramic louvre is equipped with a media-compatible fixture (in total 36,993 RGB fixtures of 8W each), mostly dimmed to a gentle white light. The illuminated interior projects a welcoming warmth towards the outside
in combination with the material qualities of the warm-coloured bamboo wall, visible through the glazed facade. All five buildings are similarly equipped, creating a unified lighting scheme. A welcoming and festive effect was the main idea behind the overall lighting concept.
Lead Designers, Architecture and Interior
Pekka Salminen (chief designer)
Martin Lukasczyk (project architect)
Lai Linli (project manager)
Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih (ceramic artist)
Main Design Team
Li Wei (project coordinator)
Guan Xiaojing (project manager)
Eckhard Kahle (acoustics)
Henrik Möller (acoustics)
Matti Haaramo (steel structures)
Harri Ripatti (HVAC)
Wilfried Kramb (lighting)
Gretel Hemgard (landscape)
Nick Li (curtain wall)
Lu Yi (interiors)
Johan Storgard (theatre)
Timo Tuovila (opera)
CCEDGC Co., Ltd.