------Program code: DO-081230-07594 (what's this?)

Source: CCTV.com

12-30-2008 16:47

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The Guangdong Province Museum was designed by Rocco Yim, the legendary architect from Hong Kong. SASAKI - one of the best landscape architecture firms in the U.S. – did the landscape design work for New Town. These buildings and layouts helped to make New Town by the Pearl River the focus in Southern China.

By 2002, the Guangzhou Opera House – which was to be located in the center of New Town by the Pearl River was the only project for which there was no design. What kind of opera house would deserve to occupy such a dominant position?

Guangzhou has played an extremely important part in modern Chinese history. It was in this city, for example, that Sun Yat-Sen and Huang Xing led the Huanghuagang Uproar in 1911. It was also in this city that the Guangzhou Uproar broke out, the event that resulted in the establishment of the first “red municipal government” of China.

In 1957, the 1st China Import and Export Fair was held in Guangzhou. The spirit of both revolution and the avant-garde has never been missing from the blood of the Guangzhou people, so when the Guangzhou government decided to invite Zaha Hadid - the world’s most avant-garde architect - to design the Guangzhou Opera House, the building that would be the focal point of New Town by Pearl River, it wasn’t illogical, as some suggested.

In April 2002, Austria’s Coop-Himmelblau, Holand’s Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid came to Guangzhou one after another to participate in the bidding competition for the Guangzhou Opera House project.

At the time, everybody thought the chances favoured Koolhaas, who had begun to pay attention to Guangzhou since as early as the 1990s and had written a series of books about Guangzhou. Many people believed that Koolhaas - who had such an in-depth understanding of Guangzhou - would come up with the most appropriate opera house design.

Zaha Hadid felt under considerable pressure facing such fierce competition. Twenty years before, when she was studying in the Architectural Association School in London, Koolhaas had been her personal hero. During her five years’ study at the school, she had always seen Koolhaas’ achievements as a goal she should try to reach.

During those five years, Zaha Hadid became obsessed with Koolhaas’ architectural philosophy. As soon as she graduated, she began to work for Koolhaas Architects and became a partner Koolhaas greatly appreciated.

Two years later, however, Zaha announced she was leaving Koolhaas to start her own firm. She could never have anticipated that 15 years later in Guangzhou she would have to compete against her former teacher and the professional partner she had worked so closely with.

On November 7th, 2002, the bidding competition for the Guangzhou Opera House formally began. As expected, Koolhaas came up with an extremely avant-garde design. In his opera house, the audience would be seated in beige folding rolls, while the stage would be positioned on top of a metal structure. The audience would have to go through a tunnel before being able to appreciate the performance.

However, Koolhaas’s “folding rolls” design didn’t win the approval of the jury, and it was unexpectedly eliminated from the competition.

Meanwhile, Zaha’s “double pebbles” design and Coop-Himmelblau’s “flame of passion” design had found favour.

The “flame of passion” design in particular won the admiration of the technical evaluation panel.

Coop-Himmelblau is a legendary architectural firm in Europe. Their first concept to truly impress the world was called “Roof Renovation.” This involved adding a metal roof in wild shapes to the original roof of an old house to give it a new and unique artistic feeling.

The interior of the roof was decorated in a way that made people feel as if they were in some future world. Two architects with Coop-Himmelblau - Wolf D Prix and Helmut Swiczinsky - became extremely famous, and they went on to design many famous buildings in Switzerland, Germany and other countries that make people think they are looking at something from outer space.