------Program code: DO-081230-07860 (what's this?)

Source: CCTV.com

12-30-2008 17:10

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In November 2002, the bidding competition for the design of the new Guangzhou Opera House came to a close, and the winner was Zaha Hadid’s “double pebbles” design.

However, the owners committee soon found that the opera house they were now going to build would be one the most complicated structures of any building in the world.

Not one of the cross sections of the facades of the building was the same as any other. They were all different in shape and in their use of angles. It soon became apparent that constructing the new Guangzhou Opera house would be almost as difficult as the Bird’s Nest, if not more so.

Would the opera house be built or would it stay on paper as some in the foreign media had suggested? What were the problems to be faced in building such a complicated structure? And, if it was built, what would make it special?

In June 2003, construction of the Guangzhou Opera House formally began, and almost immediately, as predicted in the media, when working from the blueprints the Chinese engineers found themselves faced with many difficulties.

The construction blueprints had been produced by the Pearl River Foreign Investment Architectural Design Institute, but when they looked at them the engineers found that Zaha’s design was so complicated there was no precedent anywhere in the entire history of architecture. All they could do was to try to work things out with the staff of Zaha Hadid Architects.

Zaha approaches each new design as if it was a piece of clay in her hands so that she can come up with any shape she wishes, and it was because of this totally unconventional approach to design that she became the world’s most famous futuristic architect. However, for the same reason, many of her works have turned out to be too complicated to build in the real world. In Zaha’s career of 30 years, half of her works have never made it past the design stage.

Rosenthal Center for Contemporary art, Cincinnati

With so many unfulfilled designs, many came to regard Zaha as an on-paper-only architect.

Despite setbacks, Zaha has never been deterred from coming up with ultra-modern design concepts. In the case of the Guangzhou Opera House the exterior of the opera house consists of glass panels and steel structures at different angles, and not one wall is vertical to the ground.