an assemblage of difference:
BAU256 Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Center

No.888 Tianshan Road, Changning District, Shanghai, China

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Discipline

Architecture

Typology

Public Public Theatre and Cinema Complex

City

No.888 Tianshan Road, Changning District, Shanghai, China

Date

2006-2016

Status

Completed 2016

Client

Shanghai Changning Cultural Bureau

Program

1000 seat theatre + support rooms, seven cinemas - 264 seat, 172 seat x 2, 105 seat, 95 seat x 2, 44 seat, café x 2, offices, underground parking (50)

Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Centre: An Assemblage of Difference

A Loud Context

This project is located in Tianshan Road, the new commercial boulevard in Hongqiao, one of Shanghai’s central activity districts. It replaces and expands on the existing state-run cinema centre on the site.

The site is surrounded by brightly lit shopping malls built this century. BAU decided early that to be civic and enduring in this overly excited commercial environment, doing less not more would be an effective strategy.

The project was the subject of three rounds of invited competition over 5 years before BAU was finally awarded the contract to design the
project.

Exposure to Difference

This project includes both traditional and modern programs of mass entertainment: theatre (1000 seats) and cinema (seven of various capacities). Usually seen as separate programs and increasingly supported by distinctly different user groups, this project presents the opportunity for the two different programs and variable patrons to engage.

To clearly articulate the programs as separate objects, the design strategy was to link them via one single enclosed plaza to create an in-between-space in which the differences between the programs are enhanced, the potential for cross-patronage maximised, and cross-fertilization between the performing arts
encouraged.

An Assemblage of Difference

The theatre is developed as a stone monolith (a traditional material for a traditional program) with rounded articulation and a theatrical staircase. The cinemas are an ensemble of stacked metal boxes (a 20th Century material for a 20th Century program).

The enclosed plaza has ticket offices, cafés, flexible exhibition and event space, and open views to the external plaza and streetscape. A large folded mesh screen defines this internal plaza, appearing solid in daylight and revealing the lobby when illuminated.

Timber Cave

The theatre is a 1000-seat multi-function proscenium theatre with fly tower. A balance of direct site lines and intimacy has been achieved through the addition of a balcony and the use of timber lining that wraps the space with a folded surface in the manner of the building’s façade. Contrasting with the grey stone monolithic exterior, the walls and ceilings of the interior are lined in timber, while the floors are paved in a local stone which has a remarkable timber-like texture. Dressing rooms, small rehearsal spaces, and support services are accommodated in a horizontal building at the rear. The converted containers allude to the temporal life of the theatre and its players.

Puzzling

Subway Line 15 is adjacent to the site and necessitated cantilevering structure along the North-East boundary. The building envelope is manipulated to allow sunlight into neighbouring apartments and to fit within strict setback and height controls. Earthquake requirements and a complex brief further add to the puzzle-like qualities of this project.

Sustainability

The project achieves China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Development (MOHURD) Green star accreditation. This was a BAU initiative as it is not yet common in China. Initiatives include renewable energy flat plate solar collectors together with air-source heat pumps and a 4 tonne water storage tank producing hot water for the building. The project utilizes screw air-cooling heat pump units for its air conditioning system. Rainwater from roof and paving is harvested and reused.

Street Performance

Seeking to create an accessible and welcoming public presence, both street edges are entirely glazed with high-transparency glass sourced for this purpose. The lobby and external paving is virtually continuous to further this connection. Seating alongside planting beds on the east street edge provides shaded amenity to the public, and an open plaza on the south provides neighboring residents’ a space for dancing and informal performance.

Shenzhen

Public Landscapes

Public

2020

Culture

Culture

Shanghai

2019

Nanjing

Planning

Hangzhou

2000-2005

Urban Design

Hospitality

2005-2010

Huai’an

Xi'an

Xinyu

Education

2013

2012

Retail

Mixed Use

Sports

Education

2018

Private Landscapes

Playgrounds

Suzhou

Infrastructure

Structures & Pavillions

Jiangyin

Yixing

2017

Office

Taizhou

Office

Retail

Melbourne

2016

2011

Residential

Kyneton

Healthcare

Hotel

Hotel

2015

2014

Wuxi

Healthcare

Fuding

Shaoxing

Chongqing

Kunshan

Wuhan

Cixi

Ningbo

Meishan

Canberra

Jingzhou

Chengdu

Hospitality

1990-2000

Xiamen

Residential

Hopetoun

Caofeidian

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more than just a technopolis:
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a second network embracing history, smalllness, and complexity:
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a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
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disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
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mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
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walled cities within a walled city:
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co-existence without incompatibility:
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space-time conflict:
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clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
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Journeys AND destination, not just destinations:
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continuous loops and internal courts:
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weaving and stitching:
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a constructed and cultured topography:
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it takes a village to educate a child:
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city typologies, cultural traditions, contemporary theories, and spaceships:
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artificial plateau:building more site:
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it is the least we could do: minimalism in an environment of expressionism
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more Piazza Navona than Levittown
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classrooms AND the in-between: teaching and learning beyond the classroom
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other institutions for this new century:
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building the unfinished:
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minimal AND maximal:
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small in scale large in monumentality:
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multiple rooms of difference:
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active cultural edges, passive natural centres:
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intimate, cool, sheltered and lively:
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formal teaching and informal learning:
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an exercise in robustness:
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effortless complexity: learning from water-town:
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no longer but not only:
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actualizing the virtual:
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geometry, history, art, craft, iconography, and pragmatics: an exploration of intention, coding, narrative, and meaning
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there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in:
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surreal adjacencies:
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mini-city of culture:
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keeping a low profile:
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positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
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dis-integrated guest houses :
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don’t look at me, don’t look at me:
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new buildings, old topography:
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don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
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defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both:
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turning outside-in:
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beyond PODS, networks, and nodes:
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podium and bill(ding)board:
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inner sanctuary, outer crust:
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an excessive minimalism:
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a plane of reference:
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rips in the fabric by place:
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other ideas of hospital:
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architecture AND terrain:
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crust: in-between and on the edge
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eco urbanism:
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microcosm:
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beyond the picturesque:
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don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
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building a community not just housing:
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upside down program – ‘private’ circulation becoming ‘public’ circulation:
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extra-large private space as public space:
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mini-me:
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staggering:
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urban camouflage:
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the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
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critical regionalism and abstraction:
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hospital for the ill, health care for the healthy, aged care for the elderly: BAU469 Zhaoxiang Hospital

communities as schools and schools as communities:
BAU408 Networks School Zhangjiang

tear open the package: BAU247 Qingpu NGS Supermarket

urban sponge:
BAU324 Cixi Commercial and Culture Center

lyrical islands in pragmatic seas:
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fractured enormity:
BAU281 Chongqing Huarun

ring roads AND peripheral parks:
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simple box OR 3 points in space – you choose:
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many utopias:
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a close family:
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stretching, squeezing, bending, trimming:
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BOTH networks AND objects:
BAU497 Wyndham Cove Eco Sub-urb

ethics, democracy, difference:
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warp and woof:
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sustainable technologies for clean living:
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network of learning:
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not in galleries, but a way of seeing:
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shopping sandwich:
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celebrating the collective, the intimate, the sustainable, and the local:
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21st century Ponte Vecchio:
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antidote: not another ghetto city:
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at last …finally …some diversity:
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recycling and beyond
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an assemblage of difference:
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streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
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reduce, reuse, recycle:
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binary oppositions defining a field of operation – all we wanted was a park:
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the hotel as microcosm of the city:
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…very strange:
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the beautiful and the extraordinary:
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a dynamic yet stable vehicle:
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palimpsest:
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innovation both inside and out:
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exquisite corpse
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landscape becomes urban design becomes architecture:
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BAU386 Symbiotic City

repetition and difference:
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no longer drowning – waving:
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yet another point of view:
BAU339-1 Suzhou Creek Serpentine Park

ordinary not heroic, symbolic not monumental:
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woven threads:
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private precincts, public networks:
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creative networks:
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maximize commuication and cross fertilization:
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