A global call for de­sign ideas

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai

zhangkun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shang­hai is cur­rently so­lic­it­ing for ar­chi­tec­tural de­signs for three new cul­tural projects in the city: the east wings of the Shang­hai Li­brary and Shang­hai Mu­seum, as well as a new build­ing for the Shang­hai Opera House.

All three projects have been ap­proved by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and are ex­pected to be com­pleted by 2020. A news con­fer­ence took place on Feb 22 to an­nounce the launch of a world­wide com­pe­ti­tion for the de­signs. Ten prizes will be given away for each pro­ject and par­tic­i­pants are re­quired to sub­mit their de­signs by April 30. The jury panel will an­nounce the win­ners on May 20.

The con­struc­tion of th­ese cul­tural es­tab­lish­ments forms an im­por­tant part of the city’s 13th Five-Year Plan, said Hu Minghua, head of the de­vel­op­ment and re­form of­fice un­der the city’s pub­lic­ity depart­ment.

“This re­flects the city’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­velop into a cul­tural me­trop­o­lis,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the plan, the east wings of the Shang­hai Mu­seum and Shang­hai Li­brary will be built as part of ef­forts to de­velop the Huamu area in Pudong — the Shang­hai Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Mu­seum and Shang­hai Ori­en­tal Art Cen­ter are lo­cated here too — into a new cul­tural hub. The Shang­hai Opera House will be built in the Houtan area where the 2010 World Expo was held.

Ac­cord­ing to Wu Jianzhong, the di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Li­brary, the new wing, which has a planned space of 110,000 square me­ters, will be largely ded­i­cated to host­ing ac­tiv­i­ties by read­ers and re­search pur­poses. Only 5,000 square me­ters will be al­lo­cated to the stor­age of books.

The east wing of Shang­hai Mu­seum will take up a to­tal space of 100,000 square me­ters. While the west wing on Peo­ple’s Square fea­tures bronze and ce­ramic pieces, the new wing will in­stead fo­cus on pa­per-based art works as well as hand­i­crafts, ac­cord­ing to mu­seum di­rec­tor Yang Zhi­gang.

The new build­ing of the Shang­hai Opera House will span 97,000 square me­ters. It will com­prise an opera the­ater as well as op­er­a­tional sup­port fa­cil­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to Zhang Qingxin, vice di­rec­tor of the opera house, the new build­ing will have enough space to ac­com­mo­date large- scale re­hearsals of as many as 500 peo­ple and al­low the com­pany to present not only opera, but also bal­let per­for­mances and con­certs.

Zhang hopes that the new build­ing can help ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of opera in the city. He noted that the Shang­hai Opera House has faced dif­fi­culty in achiev­ing in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion due to the size of its cur­rent the­ater.

To en­sure that the new the­ater is able to reg­u­larly of­fer new per­for­mances, the opera house is plan­ning to cre­ate four to six new pro­duc­tions an­nu­ally in the com­ing five years. Zhang added that out­stand­ing pro­duc­tions from abroad such as Tu­ran­dot and La Travi­ata will be pre­sented in Shang­hai more of­ten.

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