Hengqin Culture & Art Complex

SZAD/Atelier Apeiron/Yunchao Xu


Next to Hongkong and Macao, Hengqing is one of the fastest growing cities in China. We won the competition for the new mixed-use Civic Center, which is going to be built in the next four years. The site is limited between crowded housing area and an open park. Instead of putting nine programs into a solid building, we adopt a strategy to create an “void” for the high-density urban context, while integrating varies of programs into one complex and interweaving energetic lives together.
 The building skyline is curved along a catenary from the north hill towards the south river. The main public space at the lower level is composed by three giant arch caves coated by wood and bamboo panels, to create a transparent and open living room for urban life. The prototype is from inverted catenary arch, which is a common aesthetic and emotional symbol shared by traditional Chinese and classical western culture.
Each arch has a unique character to create specific atmosphere. In the knowledge hall, crystal book blocks build up a vertical village are for all ages of readers. Performance hall in the middle has a big open stage and a black box theater for dancing, concerts, dramas, and operas. By scattering mysterious light into the space, the spiral in the exhibition hall joints science and art. The three halls can be experienced not only in a continuous movement but parallel worlds. Above the arches, are there modular space units designed to maximize flexibility for the future.

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