Shanghai Oriental Art Centre

Shanghai Oriental Art Centre

Architect Paul Andreu Architecte East China Architectural Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Completed 2004
Product ALUCORE®


Since the last fifteen years, many monumental and contemporary design buildings have been blossomed into the metropolitan area of Shanghai Pudong district.

The Shanghai Oriental Art Centre is one of the biggest and most talked about projects to be completed in Shanghai, if not the whole of Asia, in the past couple of years. It is a first rate public cultural building, financed by the municipality of Shanghai, China. The complex encompasses three venues: a 1997-seat philharmonic orchestra hall, a 1054-seat lyric theatre, and a 330-seat chamber music hall. It also features ancillary public facilities such as an exhibition hall, music shops, a restaurant and an arts library, as well as a multimedia and training centre.

The architect Paul Andreu has created in collaboration with East China Architectural Design and Research Institute Co. , Ltd. a building that is “bright and transparent as if by magic”. However, like the best architectural magic, the building’s foundations are rooted in meticulous engineering. “When I first conceived the Shanghai Oriental Centre, one of my first thoughts was that I wanted it to glow beautifully at night. After all, what is an art centre?
It’s a place where music and theatre are performed. It should be appealing, especially in the evenings, when the crowds are attending. It should project a sense of mystery. It should certainly not feel closed, stuffy or boring”, he explains. He had “the vision of a round, geodesic dome floating in the water and glowing at night”. “As an architect and an engineer I am always trying to find better solutions. I wanted the whole construction to be glowing. I wanted the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre to say: ‘The Show’s Beginning!’” Architecturally the design is striking, beautiful and innovative. The aerial view displays the building’s formation of a petal. Beneath the roof cladding millions of glowing diodes dance and shine into the night sky to the rhythm of music realized by the most innovative technology to date.
To achieve the designed architectural features, function and remarkable performance, 20 mm thickALUCORE® panels were chosen due to their absolute flatness. Installed horizontally at a distance of approximately 700 mm away from the primary roof, they are creating enough space to accommodate all the lightings and equipment “of the light show” beneath it. The cladding system and the fixing method were specially designed to enable easy servicing and maintenance of the equipment by removing the panels temporarily. The 0 mm joints between the ALUCORE® panels were not spared but fully used for the unimpeded lighting to shine through and dance along.
In a few words the architect summarizes: “What is it? Simply this: a place for music. Covering very few square metres in a city where so much is being built every day, but encompassing so much happiness and enthusiasm. And, beyond the architecture, which is but a servant, plenty, plenty of music. ”