A global call for design ideas

Updated: 2016-02-27 03:05

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Shanghai is currently soliciting for architectural designs for three new cultural projects in the city: the east wings of the Shanghai Library and Shanghai Museum, as well as a new building for the Shanghai Opera House.

All three projects have been approved by the municipality and are expected to be completed by 2020. A news conference took place on Feb 22 to announce the launch of a worldwide competition for the designs. Ten prizes will be given away for each project and participants are required to submit their designs by April 30. The jury panel will announce the winners on May 20.

The construction of these cultural establishments forms an important part of the city's 13th Five-Year Plan, said Hu Minghua, head of the development and reform office under the city's publicity department.

"This reflects the city's determination to develop into a cultural metropolis," he said.

According to the plan, the east wings of the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Library will be built as part of efforts to develop the Huamu area in Pudong — the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Shanghai Oriental Art Center are located here too — into a new cultural hub. The Shanghai Opera House will be built in the Houtan area where the 2010 World Expo was held.

According to Wu Jianzhong, the director of the Shanghai Library, the new wing, which has a planned space of 110,000 square meters, will be largely dedicated to hosting activities by readers and research purposes. Only 5,000 square meters will be allocated to the storage of books.

The east wing of Shanghai Museum will take up a total space of 100,000 square meters. While the west wing on People's Square features bronze and ceramic pieces, the new wing will instead focus on paper-based art works as well as handicrafts, according to museum director Yang Zhigang.

The new building of the Shanghai Opera House will span 97,000 square meters. It will comprise an opera theater as well as operational support facilities. According to Zhang Qingxin, vice director of the opera house, the new building will have enough space to accommodate large-scale rehearsals of as many as 500 people and allow the company to present not only opera, but also ballet performances and concerts.

Zhang hopes that the new building can help accelerate the development of opera in the city. He noted that the Shanghai Opera House has faced difficulty in achieving international recognition due to the size of its current theater.

To ensure that the new theater is able to regularly offer new performances, the opera house is planning to create four to six new productions annually in the coming five years. Zhang added that outstanding productions from abroad such as Turandot and La Traviata will be presented in Shanghai more often.