the oval partnership recently completed the quijang creative cultural center in xi’an, china. the state of the art multi-functional theater will host a diverse palette of cultural performances, concerts, educational events and exhibitions. it is meant to be the place where social interactions, community engagements, cultural inclusion, local creativity and the collective identity of people in xi’an can be nurtured and celebrated. this subterranean gem feels like a found space in the heart of the new urban fabric.


each of the 8000 pieces of flutes has a built in LED light that illuminates the space



located in the ancient imperial capital xi’an, china’s eastern departure point for the silk road, the cultural center will form part of the an integrated masterplan designed by the oval partnership. the venue—hailed as xi’an’s first-of-its-kind creative cultural park—will be rooted in its surrounding communities, putting people at the heart of its foundation and forming one of the city’s key civic backbones feeding into a vibrant mix of uses.


8000 pieces of finely crafted bronze flutes are suspended from the ceiling, cantilevered from the walls, and rise from the floor



the architect’s vision is to create a legible connection between multi-cultural activities within the heart of a new urban district, providing a sustainable framework to inspire the new generation of innovative and creative pioneers in the city. the design responds to the local context, introducing elements and materials that evoke a modern re-interpretation of chinese architectural typologies and traditions that characterize the xi’an region.


acoustic panels in the rehearsal room mimic the elongated elements 



the design aesthetic is seamlessly embodied throughout all spaces, from the city scale down to the smallest of human scales. the site is located beneath the central plaza of qujiang creative circle as a key component of the integrated masterplan. a sympathetically placed pavilion rises above ground and serves as the primary entrance to the cultural center, standing prominently as a civic meeting point within the 500sqm (5382 sqft) public realm.


rehersal room



the subterranean building comprises a retractable 400 seat multi-functional theatre, a performance and rehearsal room, a multi-purpose gallery, exhibition spaces, workshops, a cafe and bar together with supporting office and subservient spaces. the venue poetically exchanges spatial dialogues between permanence and ephemerality, hard and soft, light and dark, compression and contraction.


multi-functional theatre



the elevated vestibule forms the primary public threshold to the main theater and the performance space. it also serves as a multi-functional space for creative events and exhibitions. inspired by the traditional chinese ‘lián láng’ — a connecting structure between buildings — a modern interpretation has been composed in a spatial arrangement of 8000 pieces of finely crafted bronze metal flutes, finely honed and detailed employing local craftsmen.


the acoustic panels in the multi-functional theatre match the flute’s aesthetic



these sculptural flutes are suspended from the ceiling, cantilevered from the walls, and rising from the floor. in the centre of the space, a 13m (140 ft) long metallic draping veil provides a contrasting softness and juxtaposes the verticality of the flutes. together they create an emotionally uplifting spectacle and a sense of ‘weightless suspension’.








project info:


architecture firm: the oval partnership

project: qujiang creative cultural centre

location: xi’an, china



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edited by: cristina gomez | designboom