An art volcano emerges in China


New arts center

© Heatherwick Studio

The construction of a new arts center will begin in 2022 in the province of Hainan, China: the Hainan Performing Arts Centre. The long-awaited building will have a volcanic-shaped structure that aims  to enhance the city’s landscape and offer its users a meeting space where opera and other art forms can influence  conversations and become part of daily life.


The design made by the British architect, Thomas Heatherswick (Heatherswick Studio),  took references from the landscape of the volcanic island of Hainan to develop the building. This art center, which will house three performance areas (a theater, a concert hall, and an opera house), will be part of a large-scale master plan to create a new cultural area in the Jiangdong district.



Multicolored volcanoes


The complex, which is intended to be an extension of the city, consists of three multicolored volcanoes joined at the center. Each will have a different purpose and will be crowned by a curvilinear roof covered with shiny mosaics that will create a spectacle on its own due to the reflection of the sun.


These “floating volcanoes” will provide the sensation of open space, as they are arranged in such a way that natural light and air can be used inside the pavilion. As a result, the serenity and formality of high art such as opera will be modernized and made accessible to the new generations that live in the city.

nuevo centro de arte
© Heatherwick Studio

Also, the project is expected to accommodate 3,800 people between the three areas and host all kinds of international shows. Ballet, opera, musical theater, contemporary dance, and any other kind of artistic presentation will be enjoyed by the community, as well as by the growing wave of tourists that the region is experiencing.


In terms of the open areas of the Hainan Performing Arts Centre, these will always be available for the enjoyment of the community and will serve as a space to offer free activities.



A design from another world


The design process for the Hainan Performing Arts Centre involved a team of designers and engineers who used digital and traditional techniques to create the model of the structure. They performed a series of intensive tests and analyses of materials and forms so  the structure would serve as a shelter for people on an island with a changing climate, aside from having a minimal carbon footprint.


The design was the winner of the competition held by the Haiko Tourism and Culture Investment Holding Group as part of the efforts to expand the city’s cultural activity.



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