Zaha Hadid Architects has won a competition for the design of a new harborfront district in the Chinese city of Sanya. Located on the southern tip of Hainan island, the area attracts 80 million tourists each year for its forests and beaches, a demand that is driving the development of the new harbor district.
Located at the entrance to the harbor, Zaha Hadid Architects’ cultural district seeks to “define the city as a gateway to the tropical waters of Sanya Bay and beyond to the South China Sea.” A central axis through the district links the development with the wider city and divides the cultural programming of the district’s performing arts theater and exhibition galleries with its commercial programming for conferences and trade fairs.
One of the scheme’s most defining architectural elements is a series of layered roofs that “feather outwards” and cascade from their higher points along the central axis. According to the team, the roofs “softly reflect sunlight and appear to float above the water like sails in a sea breeze, defining an architectural landmark of ascending geometries that echo the mountainous landscapes of Hainan’s interior behind the city.”
As part of the 26.7-hectare district’s cultural accommodation, a series of new public plazas, gardens, marinas, and a harborside boardwalk combine with exhibition and conference facilities with the capacity for local, national, and international cultural events. The district also holds residential, offices, hotels, shopping, and dining amenities.
According to the team, the district’s environmental credentials include photovoltaics and rainwater collection on the roof areas, a central plant with seawater heat exchangers for cooling, and a “smart building management system” to automatically adjust shading, lighting, and ventilation.
“Timber cladding on the underside of the cultural and conference center’s roofs will be sourced from certified sustainable forests and selected for its resilience to local coastal weather conditions without chemical treatments,” the team adds. “Procurement for each building within the district will prioritize the use of local and recycled materials.”
News of the scheme comes in the same month that Zaha Hadid Architects provided an update on their Western Sydney International Airport designed in collaboration with Cox Architecture. Last month, meanwhile, the firm completed an arching bridge across China’s Jiangxi River as well as designing a defined by a gently curving silhouette.
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