Our last day in Guangzhou was dedicated to the contemporary architecture at Zhujiang New Town again. The night before, we had a brief visit of the area to check out Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House, Rocco’s Guangdong Museum, and Nikken Sekkei’s Central Library illuminated with dramatic lights. The next day we returned to check out the interior of these buildings.
The first stop we made was Guangzhou Opera House. We joined a 1.5 hour guided tour that took us into the a number of the major spaces in the complex, from the main auditorium to practice rooms. While the interior spaces of the Opera House were visually impressive, the uncounted design and construction deficiencies and traces of poor maintenance were all difficult to ignore. Nevertheless, Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House still stood out as the most unique architecture we saw in Guangzhou.
Not far from the Opera House stood the new Guangzhou Library designed by Japanese design firm Nikken Sekkei. Completed in 2013, Guangzhou Library is a neatly detailed and designed public building. Once got in, we were immediately overwhelmed by the large and airy atrium and the glassy link bridges overhead. We wandered in the library briefly before moving over to the Guangdong Provincial Museum. Opened in 2010, Rocco Design Architects’ museum building is a mega-scale Chinese treasure box. Similar to the library, the main atrium space of the museum offered a pleasant surprise for us. A single footbridge high up overhead created a dramatic visual impact. To our disappointment, we then discovered that it was blocked off from public access as soon as we reached the bridge. The permanent collection of the museum presented the rich heritage of various regions in Guangdong.
It was late afternoon by the time we left Guangdong Museum. We rushed to the Guangzhou East Station for our direct intercity train back to Hong Kong. Overall our three-day trip was a pleasant introduction to the heritage of Guangdong Province. Seeing the photogenic diaolous in Kaiping County was especially interesting for us. Perhaps one day we would return to Kaiping at a different season, such as early spring when yellow mustard flowers blanketed the fields under the shadow of the century-old watchtowers.
From the metro station, we made a short walk underground before ascending to the ground level. At almost 600m, the Canton Tower played well as an urban icon for us to orient ourselves.
Approaching Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House and the reflective pool.
The triangular ceiling coffers and curved concrete walls reminded me of Hadid’s other projects,
The ceiling motif did remind me of Hadid’s Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Bronze statue at a stair landing that led to the underground parking level.
The magnificent main auditorium of Guangzhou Opera House.
Cool light troughs filled up the walls and ceiling of the music practice room.
The wavy ceiling and wall treatment of the dance studio was another highlight of our guided tour.
Interior circulation space in the Opera House on the upper levels.
During daytime, the building structure and facade details could be closely examined by visitors.
Overall view of the Opera House.
Atrium of the smaller concert hall in the Opera House complex.
Approaching the Guangzhou Manmade Library.
Central atrium of the Guangzhou Library.
Rocco’s Guangdong Museum resembled an enlarged Chinese treasure box.
The museum atrium was a remarkable design.
New kinds of materials were used in the museum project. The overall experience of the space was centred at the flying bridge high above.
Visitors leaving the Guangdong Museum, with Hadad’s Opera House at the back.
The entrance path of the museum provided a nice urban playground.
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All posts on 2015 Kaping and Guangzhou
1) TWO EPOCHS OF EAST MEET WEST: Kaiping (開平) and Guangzhou (廣州), China
2) QILOU (騎樓) BUILDINGS OF CHIKAN (赤坎鎮), Kaiping, China
3) DIAOLOU (碉樓) OF ZILI (自力村) VILLAGE, Kaiping (開平), China
4) VILLAGE OF MAJIANLONG (馬降龍村), Kaiping, China
5) JINJIANGLI (錦江里村) VILLAGE, Kaiping, China
6) ZHUJIANG NEW TOWN (珠江新城) AT NIGHT, Guangzhou, China
7) SHAMEEN ISLAND (沙面島), Guangzhou (廣州), China
8) CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE, Guangzhou, China