The Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai is an impressive cultural project designed by French Architect Paul Andreu.
Its architecture looks like a large sculpture, shaped as an orchid that is opening up towards the sky. This lobed structure allows the spatial articulation of the different venues and their complexities while giving the project an aspect of unity.
With a total Area of 37,000m2 distributed on seven floors, the Oriental Arts Centre acts primarily as the host of three large venues; a 1,979 seats Philharmonic Orchestra Hall, a 1,054 seats lyric Theatre, as well as a 330 seats chamber Music Hall. The project also includes ancillary public facilities; an Exhibition Hall, Music Shops, restaurants and an Arts Information Centre, itself comprising an arts Library, a Multimedia center and a training Centre. Integrated to the project are the technical facilities and the private areas that are annexed to the performance halls such as the dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, offices and lounges.
Paul Andreu placed the main core of the Oriental Arts Centre at the centre of his design. The performance halls branch out of this main core and develop spatially in an organic form. This radial organization simplifies the architecture and greatly improves the circulation. All areas, the public ones as well as the private ones that are allocated to the professionals and the VIPs get accessed through that central area. All the public spaces were designed to be open and flexible, increasing their adaptability to future requirements. Each space bears its own identity. What is common is their external cover made of colorful ceramic enamel.
The visual concept is well enhanced through the use of a unique cantilevered roof that is tying up the different architectureal spaces as well as a curvilinear glazed wall that spans from the base of the building all the way to roof.
The glass panels used in the elevations incorporates a sheet of perforated metal. Reflecting the sun during the day, the perforated metal finish strengthens the sculptural attributes of the architecture. At night the walls become transparent, and the centre opens itself up to the outside. The ceiling of the Oriental Arts Centre incorporates more than 880 high-tech inlaid lights, their color changes in sync with the melodic tunes played inside, producing a dynamic light show that helps in relating the events that are happening inside the center with the people passing by.
Going beyond the design of an organic space, Paul Andreu was able to produce a dynamic architecture that opens itself to its surroundings. Showing off the circulation, using light and transparency, it is a living space that bridges out of its shell to communicate with the rest of the city.