Jean Nouvel designs sinuous Shenzhen Opera House for China

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel's studio has unveiled its proposal for a giant opera house on the waterfront in Shenzhen, China, which will be covered by a curving roofscape.

The Shenzhen Opera House is designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel as a 220,000-square-metre cultural landmark for the Shekou Peninsula, a site overlooking Shenzhen Bay.

Above: Shenzhen Opera House will be built on the Shekou Peninsula. Top image: it is designed to enhance the existing promenade


Once complete, it will stretch out along the waterfront and count a 2,300-seat opera hall, a 1,800-seat concert theatre and an 800-seat venue for operettas among its many facilities. According to the studio the architectural design is intended to establish a connection to the sea, celebrating the city's history as a fishing village and its existing promenade.

It will be topped by a curving roofscape

Ateliers Jean Nouvel's design was the winning entry of an invited international architecture competition for the opera house. Other entrants included BIG, Snøhetta, MVRDV and Kengo Kuma.

The brief, drawn up by the Shenzhen government, asked participants to design a "world-class palace of art" that will later become the centrepiece of its wider masterplan for the city, which involves the construction of nine other cultural landmarks.

Alongside the main performance halls, the sinuous Shenzhen Opera House will also contain a multifunctional theatre with 400 seats, cultural spaces for the public and backstage areas including a production centre, apartments for performers and offices.

Iridescent materials will be used in the foyer

Few details have been disclosed about the design, but the studio plans to make the main auditorium highly visible throughout the building.

This main hall will also incorporate a large loggia that will open out onto terraces overlooking the sea.