Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre / Zaha Hadid Architects

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have unveiled an ambitious cultural complex, which began to take shape in October after the project broke ground in the heart of , . In true Hadid-fashion, the Meixihu International Culture & Arts Center defines itself by extreme sinuous curves that radiate from each of the three independent structures and links them to a pedestrianized landscape that offers a “strong urban experience”, forming what they hope to be a global destination for theater and art.

The architects’s description after the break…

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The International Culture & Arts Centre embodies a unique variety of civic nodes and spaces: A Grand Theatre, a Contemporary Art Museum, a Multipurpose Hall and supporting facilities. The central plaza is generated by the relative position of these separate buildings and offers a strong urban experience whereby the flow of pedestrian visitors that come from all sides of the site intersect and meet. In parallel it also stretches outwards to the neighboring streets with unfettered and phenomenal views across Meixi lake with access towards Festival Island.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Grand Theatre is the focal point of the Changsha International Culture & Arts Centre. It is the largest performance venue in the city with a total capacity of 1800 seats. Designed to host world-standard performances the building contains will contain all the necessary front of house functions, such as lobbies, cloakrooms, bars, restaurants, and VIP hospitality, as well as the required ancillary functions, such as administration, rehearsal rooms, backstage logistics, dressing and make-up rooms, and wardrobe.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Museum’s composition of three fluid petals around its internal central atrium, juxtaposes of the various patchworks of gallery spaces in a truly seamless fashion. With outward views and balconies to its exteriors, it aims to engage the site’s unique location and surrounding views into some of its gallery spaces. An external plaza which faces Meixi Lake Road allows for outdoor sculptures, exhibitions and events to be extended to an expansive outdoor space.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Small Theatre (Multipurpose Hall) is characterized by its flexibility. With a maximum capacity of 500 seats, it can be adapted and transformed to different configurations. It can therefore accommodate a broad range of functions and shows that span from banquets and commercial events to small plays, fashion shows and music. A commercial attraction, this venue shares seamless public access to retail areas and restaurant facilities, which are seated in an open and gently sunken courtyard linking visitors to and from the basement level.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Although these civic institutions are uniquely defined and separate, they supply each other in all respects within its setting with plazas offering visitors a tapestry-like sequence of urban ambiances that relate to the different institutions, inject the site with urban vitality. The working hours of the different venues also overlap to ensure continuity during the full 24 hour cycle; Operated during the evening, the Grand Theatre becomes active as the Museum begins to conclude its day- time operations whilst the Small theatre and retail/restaurants would be commercially available day and night. In this regard, they benefit from each other’s vicinity, ensuring that the site is lively 24 hours a day. This dynamic composition further establishes a powerful relationship with its surroundings, which confers monumentality to the ensemble.

Embodying values of functionality, elegance and innovation, the Changsha Meixi Lake International Culture & Arts Center aims to become the new cultural and civic node for the city of Changsha, and well as global cultural destination.

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design: Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Project Director: Woody Yao, Simon Yu
Project Leader : Simon Yu
Project Team: Zhenjiang Guo, Charles Kwan, Jinqi Huang, Neil Sansom, Pravin Ghosh, Thomas Jensen, Justin Kelly, Wandy Mulia, Uli Schifferdecker, Adrian Aguirre Herrera, Aurora Santana, Koren Sin, Johanna Huang, Yifan Zhang, Collin Spelts, Fei Liang, Adam Fingrut, Yitzhak Samun
Schematic Design : Zhenjiang Guo, Charles Kwan, Jinqi Huang
Museum Design: Tariq Khayyat, Kutbuddin Nadiadi, Diego Rossel, Gerry Cruz, Matteo Melioli, Xiaosheng Li, Yuxi Fu, Thomas Jensen, Matthew Johnson, Justin Kelly, Drew Merkle
Structural, Facade & Building Services Engineering: Buro Happold
Theater Consultants: Theatre Projects Consultants
Acoustics Consultants: Marshall Day Acoustics
Competition Team: Tiago Correia (Project Architect); Victor Orive, Fabiano Continanza, Zhenjiang Guo, Danilo Arsic, Ines Fontoura, Rafael González, Alejandro Díaz, Jimena Araiza (Project Team); Hannes Schafelner, Philipp Ostermaier, Jakub Klaska, Maren Klasing, Saman Saffarian, Martin Krcha, Maria Tsironi, Spyridon Kaprinis (Concept Development)
Area: 0.0 sqm
Year: 0
Photographs: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre / Zaha Hadid Architects" 09 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>


  • Marcelo Gardinetti

    other baroque structure, ungraspable and lacking adequate space

  • ZumthorFanatic

    Zaha sure is having a field day in China.

  • yluo

    This sounds like a terrible idea.. Can I call this unethical?

  • Ehsan

    wow , that’s awesome!

  • David Stefanovic

    Zaha’s urge to to create a space ship. Unfortunately does not get you to another planet no does help undestanding this one.

    Did someone mentioned sustenability 10 yeas ago ?

  • alvin xu

    Striking Design, but clearly has no connection with its context. What a perfect example of soulless architecture.

  • peter barton

    while the art placed in the site locations are probably virtually conceived nevertheless it would be nice to have the creators named––for example i see a richard sera triform corten steel sculpture on the main open air terrace but who are the others represented on the inside––that is what is art generated and what is architected?

  • archi

    Hasn’t this meme died yet?

    • Trre

      not yet,but it will be built out.

  • Chopper

    You could make the argument, that this style of architecture can potentially have the Guggenheim (in Bilbao) effect in the area…

  • Chopper

    meringue anyone? sorry, I couldn’t resist…

  • Richard Peck

    Aesthetics aside, I’d be fascinated by the story of how builders make this a reality. What prevents it from becoming a construction nightmare?

  • Tomek

    When will people get bored with criticizing Zaha because she is Zaha or praise her with any other explanation than “oh, this is awsome”? ;)

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  • Beatriz R.

    This looks like a super futuristic evolution of a Oscar Niemeyer design. Not a bad thing!

  • sm

    Unable to digest it…..

  • tan naz

    very nice …

    • saeed

      be nazare manam ok bood



    • Pol1017

      normally have high regards and respect for Zaha’s works, but not this one. Can’t fully grasp why the need for excessive fluidity for this type of structure especially in relation to the internal spaces.