jean nouvel wins competition to build shenzhen opera house in china

Mar 22, 2021

ateliers jean nouvel has won an international design competition to complete a new opera house in shenzhen, china. named ‘the light of the sea’, the winning scheme was selected ahead of a number of other established firms, including bjarke ingels group and kengo kuma & associates. the building seeks to enhance the city’s waterfront promenade with a fluid design that responds gracefully to its context. surrounded by water on three sides, the institution will include vibrant outdoor terraces to activate the project and its surroundings.

jointly organized by shenzhen municipality’s bureau of planning and natural resources, bureau of culture, sports, tourism, radio and television, and bureau of public works, the competition attracted interest from some of the world’s biggest firms, with jean nouvel’s firm eventually coming out on top. in addition to a 2,300-seat opera hall, the competition-winning design includes a 1800-seat concert hall, a 800-seat operetta hall, and a multi-functional theater with a total of 400 seats. the project also includes other cultural spaces as well as a stage design and production center.

the architects explain that the auditorium of the opera house will be visible through a spacious foyer that leads to it. surrounded by the china sea, this sense of transparency will also contextualize the building within its coastal setting. in addition, mother-of-pearl — a smooth shining iridescent material that looks wet even when dry — will feature in the opera house’s auditorium — highlighting the curve of the balconies or the acoustic geometries of the walls. see the other shortlisted proposals for the project on designboom here.

project info:

name: shenzhen opera house location: shenzhen, guangdong, china architect: ateliers jean nouvel status: competition winning scheme