Inspired by Jasmine Blossoms

Project: Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre, China

Architects: PES-Architects, Helsinki and Shanghai

Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province. It has been ranked one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world. In 2013, the Fuzhou Government hosted an international invited competition for the Strait Culture and Art Centre with the goal of strengthening the cultural image of the city and the Mawei New Town development area.

The architects’ winning proposal takes inspiration from the petals of a jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou. The flower is manifested in the formal language and colour of the architecture takes inspiration from the petals of a jasmine. The five jasmine petal venues— opera house (1600 seats), concert hall (1000 seats), multi-functional theatre, art exhibition hall and cinema centre—are linked by a cultural concourse and a large roof terrace. The roof terrace is accessible via two ramps from the Jasmine Gardens as well as from the Central Jasmine Plaza, providing a seamless connection from the complex to the riverfront of the Minjiang River. On the underground level, a promenade- like route along the Liangcuo flood river connects the landscape to the interiors, as well as providing a connection between the metro station and the Centre.

Pekka Salminen, Founder of PES-Architects describes the scheme, “Dividing the large complex into smaller units gives the Centre a more human scale and makes it easy for users to navigate both indoors and outdoors. Each building has a core area — a semi-public, curved gallery that follows the curvature of the main façade — that integrates the public interior space with the landscape of the Jasmine Gardens around the building and further with the Mahangzhou island natural reserve in front of the Centre.”

Ceramics: Ceramic is used as the project’s main material due to its significance in the historical context of the maritime Silk Road trade connection between China and the rest of the world. The architects worked with Taiwanese ceramic artist to design the artistic ceramic interior for two main auditoriums according to acoustical demands, using the legendary ‘China White’ material and new technology. All façades are clad with white ceramic tiles and louvers, while both the opera hall and concert hall showcase this cultural material in innovative and creative ways in the acoustic wall surface. The interior surfaces of the opera hall and concert hall are clad with topographical ceramic panels. Based on extensive studies carried out with the acousticians, two types of acoustic panels were developed: an engraved panel and a mosaic tile panel. Both panels are adaptable to the topographical surfaces that are required to achieve high quality acoustics, as well as the visual language of the design.

Bamboo: The Multipurpose Hall is designed for a 700 seat audience. The walls are clad with solid CNC cut bamboo blocks, shaped according to the acoustic needs. The roof is equipped with a flexible cable net ceiling to enable a flexible usage of lighting and other technical equipment.

Photo Credit: Marc Goodwin and Zhang Yong

Client: Fuzhou New Town Development Investment Group Co, Ltd

Programme: Opera House (1,600 seats); Concert Hall (1,000 seats); Multi-functional Theatre (700 seats); Art Exhibition Hall, Cinema Centre

Height: 62 metres

Principal Materials: Steel, concrete, bamboo and
custom-developed ceramic

PES-Architects Team: Lead architects and designers – Pekka Salminen (chief designer), Martin Lukasczyk (project architect), Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih (ceramic artist), Lai Linli (project manager); Main design team – Li Wei (project coordinator), Guan Xiaojing (project manager), Yizhou Zhao, Masahide Nakane, Matti Kankkunen, Anna Blomqvist, Clara Juan, Uros Kostic, Antonio Barquinha, Martin Genet, Dou Jian; Local architect – Xu Zongwu, CCEDGC Co Ltd

Area: Gross area 153,000sq m

Year of completion: 2018