Shenzhen Cultural Center

The design for the Shenzhen Cultural Center, in China's Guandong province, consists of cultural and performing arts structures placed side by side to form an urban edge along the city's central park, culminating at City Hall and surrounded by other public buildings. The two compositions, the Library and the Concert Hall, define the urban setting.

The entry piazzas are a prelude to the two great urban rooms, which become the focal point, respectively, of each of the institutions. The Library's great room is approached from two directions, the Southeast and Northeast. Covered by a soaring glass roof, the hall is defined on one side by the containing wall lined with shops, cafes and many levels of reading galleries above, and on the other side by seven levels of the Library stacks. It is acoustically separated from the Library proper by a glass wall, allowing the free and noisy hustle bustle of a vital, interactive urban life.

The Concert Hall is defined by a spiraling containing wall, accommodating the Foyer, the concert chamber, the grand stairs, and the Rehearsal Hall with its many facilities. The mass of both buildings intersects with the toroid surface defining their roof geoemtry. The undulating curvilinear silhouette recalls the distant mountains and provides a singular unifying geometry, a duality within a singularity. Each building has its unique form, yet both are perceived in the urban landscape as a unified pair. Ultimately Safdie did not win the competition but his design proposal placed second.