Zaha and Chinese scholar's rocks

    In China I realized that the Zaha Hadid I'd been looking at

    is a lot like Chinese scholar's rocks.

    Organic forms that could be shaped by the flow of water. A flow shape that symbolizes currents and the passage of time and dynamic space. Both stimulate contemplation. Exterior becomes interior. One's thoughts are altered, one's thought processes are opened up to new pathways, new, non-linear connections. Both look futuristic and prehistoric at the same time.

    The Chinese scholar's rocks are more durable though.


    Designing for China, an opera house for Guangzhou (Canton), Hadid's project looks less - though still somewhat - like the scholar's rocks and more like crystals.

    From Building Magazine: “We wanted to show this building as a dynamic entity; the pebbles are dragged from the river and have been formed and shaped by wind and water forces. This has a link with the immediate context, the Pearl river, but also the Buiyan mountains near Guangzhou” says Wen Kun Bo, the project director for contractor China State Construction.
    The larger “pebble” includes a 1,800-seater auditorium; the smaller one houses a 400-seat multi-purpose space for theatre, conferences and exhibitions.

    Hadid's little but complex pavilion for Chicago's Burnham Centennial celebration opened late due to construction difficulties; she is having similar troubles and delays in China.
    “There are three areas of difficulty,” Wen says. “The most difficult thing was positioning everything on site, the second was assembling the steel structure, and the third was the concrete, which was tricky because of the geometry and problems with the formwork. ... Wen has also found the concrete challenging, partly because of its structural complexity and also because Zaha Hadid wanted a good finish to the concrete. “Fair-faced concrete is quite rare in China so getting the right formwork is quite difficult,” says Zaha Hadid’s project architect on site, Simon Yu. In the end most of the formwork had to be imported or specially made. ...Yu concedes the building is behind schedule, partly due to a fire started by sloppy welding, and may not be completed for May 2010, when Guangzhou hosts an arts festival. Yu says the building will certainly open before November for the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

    Photos of Guangzhou Opera House © Building 2009Source URL:
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