zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art
zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art
feb 26, 2010

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

king abdullah II house of culture and art in amman

this week zaha hadid architects unveiled plans for the new king abdullah II house of culture and art in amman, the jordanian capital.

conceived as a place to rehearse, discuss, teach, study and perform, the king abdullah II house of culture & art will be the premiere venue for theatre, music and dance performance and education in jordan – a vital element in the cultural life of the city and country, bringing together all members of the community in the shared experience of art and music.

the complex includes a 1600-seat concert theatre, 400-seat theatre, educational centre, rehearsal rooms, and galleries.

the architectural expression for the new performing arts centre has been inspired by the magnificent ancient city of petra explains zaha hadid. ‘petra is an astonishing example of the wonderful interplay between architecture and nature, as well as the intricate complexity and elegance of natural forms – the rose-colored mountain walls have been eroded, carved and polished to reveal the astonishing strata of sedimentation. we have applied these principles to articulate the public spaces within the centre, with eroded interior surfaces that extend into the public plaza in front of the building.’

zaha hadid architects was awarded the project in june 2008 after an international competition that included snøhetta (norway), atelier christian de portzamparc (france), delugan meissl (austria), henning larsens tegnestue (denmark) and kerry hill architects (singapore).

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

the architectural expression for the new performing arts centre has been inspired by the uniquely beautiful monument of petra. as an artificial oasis and sanctuary the ancient city of petra is an appropriate source of analogy for a performing arts centre that aspires to be an oasis and sanctuary for contemporary culture.

petra is also a fantastic example of the wonderful interplay between architecture and nature. contemporary architecture is striving to emulate nature and imbue architecture with the intricate complexity and elegance of natural forms. in petra we admire the way the rose-colored mountain walls have been fissured, eroded, carved and polished to reveal the strata of sedimentation along the fluid lines of the fluvial erosions.

we are applying the principle of fluid erosion and carving to the mass of the building for the performing arts centre. this principle of erosion is the sole means of articulating the public spaces in the building. thus there is a very strong, legible relation between the exterior and interior public spaces.

the interior public foyer space is a continuous, multi-level space that cuts through the building and connects the north and south side of the valley. the fact that the erosion is cutting through the building implies that the beautiful interior surfaces will be light-flooded and thus very visible from without.

the eroded interior surface extends deep into the public plaza as a welcoming gesture drawing the public into the building. there can be no doubt that this inviting design will wash away the threshold anxiety that sometimes is felt in front of monumental cultural buildings.

while the erosion creates the public foyer spaces the remaining mass represents the performance spaces. the shape of the eroded space reveals the two main performance spaces as the figurative parts of the eroded mass. the big concert theater is exposed at the end of the public void. the small theater is exposed overhead at the front of the building where the public foyer space fuses with the public plaza. these two recognizably shaped volumes that contain the primary event spaces are then encapsulated by the support functions to create the exterior cubic volume.

however, this exterior volume is not a rigid box. the volume is given tension be letting it gently swell – like the entasis of a column – in response to the public void in the centre of the building. another nuance is to be noticed with respect to the treatment of the ground-surface – both on the plaza and within the public foyer.

the plaza ground outside receives the underpass coming from the gam strip and thus creates an amphi-theatre-like valley. the surface of the plaza rises gently as it approaches the building. the foyer ground is thus slightly raised and dips again slightly in response to the small theatre. the ground is eroded again in front of the big concert theater to reveal and give access to this performance space creating another situation that might become a kind of amphi-theatre within the overall space.

such quasi-topographic manipulations of the ground surface are very communicative. they help to structure the large public surface and facilitate orientation and overview, in particular if the space is filled with people. thus this play with the ground plane goes hand in hand with the overall ambitions of the multi-level public void that allows the audience to participate in the unified public space on many levels. in particular the second, elevated foyer level that connects across to the south-side of the valley might become aman’s favorite spot to relax and enjoy the city.

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

zaha hadid: king abdullah ll house of culture and art

project info: program: concert theatre: 1600 seat, small theatre: 400 seat, educational centre and galleries cliente: the greater amman municipality architect: zaha hadid architects design: zaha hadid and patrik schumacher project director: charles walker project architect: tariq khayyat competition team: maria araya, melike altinisik, dominiki dadatsi, renata dantas, sylvia georgiadou, britta knobel, rashiq muhamadali, bence pap, eleni pavlidou, daniel santos, daniel widrig, sevil yazici. structural consultants: dar al-handasah, beirut-cairo mechanical & environmental consultants: dar al-handasah, beirut-cairo theatre and acoustics consultant : artec consultants inc, new york facade engineers : ramboll, london lighting consultants: OVI, new york

  • nothing new !!
    John F Kennedy airport was built in 1947 – so where is the next generation – architecture is about resolving something in detail – not proposing something and then struggeling or paying a lot of money to hide mistakes.

    max says:
  • always the same zaha hadid… it becomes boring 🙁

    titi says:
  • surely she can afford a new computer programme by now

    reasonable 01 says:
  • “always the same zaha hadid…”

    sorry but shouldnt finding your own style be everyones maxim?
    now that she has achieved that she can delve deeper i think.
    i hate it when people say “always the same”. if you have developed a hall mark of your very own expressions you should be more proud than ashamed of yourself.

    darwin says:
  • darwin, substitute ‘style’ for ‘cliche by interns’

    designbynumbers says:
  • Does zaha hadid sell herself as a muslim designer?or is that something outside the remit of what we can talk about on a design blog?

    censormeplease says:
  • Wow this proposal is breathtaking, as are most Zaha Hadid projects!
    I fail to see how anyone can be so critical of this and other Zaha Hadid creations. She is a masterful architect!

    Antix says:
  • zaha hadid is great…..but i still thinking that all of her building is sound egoistic….didnt thing bout the surrounding….is always make her building more expose than the existing……….but everyone had their own style and concept……but for me, a building is great if the building could support the existing and the building itself………..cheers (only god who had all the perfectionis)

    yonaskuragi says:
  • designbynumbers, every major studio splits up its work to achieve the best result. with the main concept evolving from zahas ideas i see no problem with other people contributing to the project.

    darwin says:
  • darwin, I guess my point of contention was more with ‘cliche’ than ‘intern’

    jointhedots says:
  • Someone wrote: “nothing new!!”. But, in architecture, what is exactly new? What is an architectural newness? The term newness is an abstraction in this profession, because architecture is less about inventing ideas than recycling ideas. The great architects recognized by History, such as Corbusier, Rossi and Koolhaas, transformed ideas captured from architectural and urban tradition, precedent practices, related disciplines or from nature.

    Sorry, my english is very bad…

    vito says:
  • this design is beautiful! you all are a bunch of zaha haters.

    ollie says:
  • I agree Vito with your statement about “newness in architecture”.

    Architecture shouldnt be about “newness” it should be about the quality! With quality I mean architecture that is dedicated to the concerns of the user.
    Someone else recommended on this blog a very interesting blog about this topic called [url=][/url]

    Anna says:

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