Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre

In 2013, the Fuzhou Government in China hosted an international invited competition for the Strait Culture and Art Centre. It was won by Finnish PES-Architects. The Cultural Center's acoustic design was led by Henrik Möller from Akukon's team.

– In addition to the coordination of acoustic design, I worked as the head acoustician of the multi-purpose hall and participated in the design of both the opera hall and the concert hall, says Möller.

Ceramic was used as the project’s main material. Taiwanese ceramic artist Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih designed the artistic ceramic interior for two main auditoriums according to acoustical demands, using the legendary “China White” material and new technology. Despite the hard surface material, the architect and acoustician fit their visions well together.

Two types of acoustic panels were developed: an engraved panel and a mosaic tile panel.

– In the opera hall basically, the whole wall surface is tile. The architect has shaped the surfaces of the walls to match our acoustic specifications. In the concert hall, some of the tiles are thicker so that the tiles themselves act as a sound-degrading surface, says Möller.

Team Akukon's acousticians defined the qualities of the surfaces according to the functional needs. The spherical surfaces fragments are cladded with topographical ceramic types, ranging from being totally flat, to having a strongly angulated 3D shaping. The tiles were arrayed according to acoustic needs; the flat “calm” tiles were placed where reflection was needed, and the shaped “stormy” tiles were installed where the surfaced needed to become diffuse. A complex computational script was developed to find the final randomized pattern and exact location for each ceramic tile.

The petals of jasmine blossom

PES-Architects’ winning proposal aims to offer an extraordinary experience for ordinary users by creating a new type of “cultural shopping mall”. The cultural programmes of the Centre are complemented with commercial and family-oriented entertainment services to create a modern hybrid complex.

The design takes inspiration from the petals of jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou. The flower is manifested in the formal language and colour of the architecture. The five jasmine petal venues – opera house, concert hall, multi-functional theatre, art exhibition hall and cinema centre – are linked by a Cultural Concourse and a large roof terrace

Five buildings, three halls

Acoustic design concerned an opera hall, a concert hall and a multipurpose theater. Kahle Acoustics from Belgium was Akukon's sub-consultant. Both took part in the project right on from the architectural competition.

– Our client was Tongjii University, more precisely, its Architectural Design and Research Institute, which was working for the builder, Fuzhou New Town Development Investment Group Company, says Möller.

The shape of the concert hall interior has been fully developed based on acoustical requirements. The overall shape consists entirely of large scale sphere fragments. These are dimensioned and arrayed in a way to maximize the lateral reflections toward the audience. The 3D model has been exchanged several times with the acousticians, and all surface orientations have been optimized on that basis. The outcome is a complex shape fully following the acoustical function, but also creating a form language which is also visually convincing.

– Yes, exchanging 3D models in order to confirm best results was surely something we did several times with Kahle Acoustics, recalls Henrik Möller clearly.

Client Fuzhou New Town Development Investment Group Co., Ltd.
Subcontractor: Tongjii University, Architectural Design and Research Institute, Acoustics Department
Location Mawei New Town, Fuzhou, China
Status Opening Ceremony October 2018
Competition 2013, design 2014 -, construction 2015 -
Area Gross area 153,000 sq.m.
Programme Opera House (1,600 seats), Concert Hall (1,000 seats), Multi-functional Theatre (700 seats), Art Exhibition Hall, Cinema Centre
Height 64 metres
Materials Steel, concrete, bamboo and custom developed ceramic
Design Lead designers, architecture and interior
Pekka Salminen (chief designer), Martin Lukasczyk (project architect), Samuel Hsuan-yu Shih (opera and concert hall ceramic interior), Lai Linli (project manager)

Main design team
Li Wei (project coordinator), Guang Xiaojing (project manager), Yizhou Zhao, Masahide Nakane, Matti Kankkunen, Anna Blomqvist, Clara Juan, Uros Kostic, Antonio Barquinha, Martin Genet, Dou Jian

Special consultants
Eckhard Kahle, Henrik Möller (acoustics)
Matti Haaramo (steel structure)
Harri Ripatti (HVAC)
Wilfried Kramb (lighting)
Gretel Hemgard (landscape)
Nick Li (curtain wall)
Lu Yi (interior)
Johan Storgard (theatre)
Timo Tuovila (opera)
Team Akukon Henrik Möller (head of project)
Anssi Ruusuvuori: (room acoustics / concert hall)
Tapio Ilomäki (pre-design of presentation technology)
Eckhard Kahle, Thomas Wulfrank, Yann Jurkiewicz (room acoustics, Kahle Acoustics)

Text: Jukka Sundholm
Secondary source: PES-Architects

Fuzhou 01

The design takes inspiration from the petals of jasmine blossom, the city flower of Fuzhou.

Fuzhou 02

The Opera Hall is designed for a 1600 seat audience. The shape is fully generated with the help of acoustic scripting tools, and the surface is clad with about 1.5 million ceramic tiles.

Fuzhou 021

The free form acoustic surfaces of the Opera Hall are fully clad with custom developed ceramic tiles. There are 13 different tile types, creating a floral pattern, inspired by the Jasmine, the city flower of Fuzhou.

Fuzhou 022

The Concert Hall is designed for a 1000 seat audience. Its walls are in the large scale composed of fractions of sphere surfaces, facing the audience seating area, and providing for the most functional acoustical shaping of the room.

Fuzhou 05

The construction of the Cultural Center began in 2015. Photographed here are people of Akukon's Chinese client, Henrik Möller and architect Martin Lukasczyk.