zaha hadid: changsha meixihu international culture & art center
zaha hadid: changsha meixihu international culture & art center zaha hadid: changsha meixihu international culture & art center
mar 06, 2013

zaha hadid: changsha meixihu international culture & art center

the capital of the south central chinese province of hunan is in the midst of incredible population growth and rapid urban development. at the center of a stimulus worth 130 billion USD is the idyllic meixihu lake, now primed for an ambitious set of cultural projects. zaha hadid’s winning design for the ‘changsha meixihu international culture and art center’ broke ground in october after distinguishing itself as a composition of serpentine curves forming a complex that contains a contemporary art museum, a multipurpose hall, a hotel, and various ancillary facilities.



flythrough of the complex | video © zaha hadid architects



the central plaza emphasizes the pedestrian urban experience by helping to create incidental meeting areas and generating cultural capital in form of a sculpture garden and expansive exhibition space. views of the lake are framed by the museum’s three-petal form, unfurling around a central atrium. outward views are afforded by ribbons of glazing and balconies that serve the dual purpose of admitting daylight into the galleries. the multipurpose hall is a pointedly variable space, with public access to retail areas and restaurants nestled in a sunken courtyard.

the buildings seek to be a global destination
image © zaha hadid architects



the focal point of the plan comes by way of the grand theater, slated to be the largest performance venue in the city with an 1800 seat capacity. new zealand-based acoustic engineers at marshall day won a december bid to optimize sound performance in the central auditorium. the three major programs,while discrete buildings, are linked by sinuous passageways, curved white planes and an architecture of baroque intonations.

each building, while separate, is joined by color, greenery and dramatic shape
image © zaha hadid architects

the museum is one of the ‘nodes’ in the cultural megaplex
image © zaha hadid architects

strata of glazing and built material curve together to join the space
image © zaha hadid architects

elevated walkways and balconies distinguish the art experience
image © zaha hadid architects

an interior view of the three-petaled museum
image © zaha hadid architects



project info:


architect: zaha hadid architects
design: zaha hadid, patrik schumacher
project director: woody yao, simon yu
project team: zhenjiang guo, charles kwan, jinqi huang, neil sansom, pravin ghosh, thomas jensen, justin kelly, wandy mulia, uli schifferdecker, adrian aguirre herrera, aurora santana, koren sin, johanna huang, yifan zhang, collin spelts, fei liang, adam fingrut, yitzhak samun
schematic design: zhenjiang guo, charles kwan , jinqi huang
museum design: tariq khayyat, kutbuddin nadiadi, diego rossel, gerry cruz, matteo melioli, xiaosheng li, yuxi fu, thomas jensen, matthew johnson, justin kelly, drew merkle
competition team project architect: tiago correia
competition team: victor orive, fabiano continanza, zhenjiang guo, danilo arsic, ines fontoura, rafael gonzález, alejandro díaz, jimena araiza
concept development: hannes schafelner, philipp ostermaier, jakub klaska, maren klasing, saman saffarian, martin krcha, maria tsironi, spyridon kaprinis
structural, facade & building services engineering (competition): buro happold
theatre consultants (competition): theatre projects consultants
acoustics consultants (competition): marshall day acoustics

  • With its collections of arbitrary sculptural forms arranged along a waterfront, this is rapidly turning into Hadid’s equivalent of Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Though Calatrava’s could be said to have more structural rationale – This is really design-by-playing-with-digital-plasticine gone mad.

    Looks like the culture of the ‘doodling in virtual concrete, then finding an autocratic regime to build it’ is still alive and well, even as the economic downturn rumbles on in Europe. China has supplanted the Middle East as the playground of choice for starchitects wanting to let it all hang out.

    I’m sure Flash Gordon is applying for a Chinese visa as we speak.

    TheCat says:
  • this is good enough as tom and jerry

    sanjay patwa says:
  • Kitschy. Kaleidoscope. O’keefeesque suppressed sexual intonations.

    nelsondreyes architect says:
  • I actually really like the curve and shape of these buildings.. I think the “flower” shape is very pretty. I am not a designer or an architect, just a regular Chinese person. 😉

    Jojo says:
  • As long as it is round curvaceous and flowing cloud like schemes, love it,don’t like geo-piercing like the Denver Museum.Thx.

    Oscar Lobetti Bodoni (pere) says:
  • Stunning and fun.
    Where does the art go?

    Ron Smith says:
  • Form is great, but the landscape architecture is STARK. For this concept to really feel more than just a bunch of token buildings they should adhere to the surrounding landscape and acknowledge the spaces outside the buildings.

    Kameron says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,518 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample