The winning entry in the international competition was “two stones,” a design by Zaha Hadid for the Guangzhou Opera House (GOH). As one of the three largest auditoriums in the nation, along with the National Center for the Performing Arts Beijing and Shanghai Grand Theater, the theatre has emerged as the leading innovation in southern China.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid - Sheet1
Exterior of Guangzhou Opera House, establishing its connect with the context_©

It took more than five years to construct and was designed by the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Its free-standing hall is made of concrete and is enclosed in a robust uncovered stone and glass structure. The Opera house aims to establish itself as a central social creation in Asia, attracting experts and makers from all over the world and a global social place in South China, spanning Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Later, Guangzhou Opera house introduced various performance expressions to support the social substance of the Canton region and the social framework shift in China.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid - Sheet2
Interior of Guangzhou Opera House, bringing in modernistic take on culture and context_©

The building by Zaha Hadid expresses its structural and aesthetical self by breaking the norms. Opera House creates a sense of unification by establishing its place by amalgamating various social aspects that enrich the holistic experience of the space. In large part, due to Zaha’s inability to accept that one should repeat the same idea or submerge into a current collection of arrangements to lay down a different imprint, the style of Zaha Hadid Architects evolved from precise to softer liquid articulations.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid - Sheet3
Exterior of Guangzhou Opera House, making itself as a foci of culture_©

Concept | Guangzhou Opera House

The Guangzhou Opera House and its riverbank environment form a seamless whole, like boulders in a stream polished by erosion. The Opera House is the focal point of Guangzhou’s recent social upheaval. By connecting the continuous social structures with the apex of global finance in Guangzhou‘s Zhujiang new town, its innovative twin-stone layout enhances the metropolis by opening it to the Pearl River.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid - Sheet4
Contextual plan of the Opera House_©


The Opera House’s design is a fantastic intervention of context-focused urban linkages by Zaha Hadid Architects, fusing the social norms that have shaped Guangzhou’s historical backdrop. The design was inspired by a memorable scene and the fascinating combination of engineering and nature. It complied with geological, geographic, and disintegration norms—stream valleys and how they are altered by disintegration impact the Guangzhou Opera’s layout.

The Opera House’s domains and zones are represented by crease lines. Entryways and bistros are built to allow natural light to seep deeply into the building from both the interior and the outside, creating a magnificent gorge for distribution. The scene interacts continuously as smoothly as it moves between multiple levels and distinct components.

Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid - Sheet5
Rehersal area inside Guangzhou Opera House_©


The Guangzhou Opera complex has an elementary room, a smaller room, and numerous practice areas with a commercial area next to the city park. Visitors leave the recreation area and climb a stepping stool or go up a long hill that circles a small, optional performance area before reaching a halting entry before the main lobby.

The glass and stone constructions have points that protrude outward from the center of the square. The smallest space is represented by a dull stone that has moved back to one side. The vault and shade wall of the Opera House are paired in a couple of asymmetrical styles. The main joint has an unexpected non-mathematical design.

Spatial construction of interior of Guangzhou Opera House_©

Levels are provided into the main room from various levels to lay out availability and orientation inside the building. The public entrances separate the open-air steel framework and the amphitheatre. The lobby’s black stone floors direct visitors to the hall galleries through inclinations and turns. Through sloping steps and slopes, the outside and primary routes are provided.

The primary opera house_©

The Guangzhou Opera House contains a magnificent 1,804-seat theatre. A multipurpose relax with 443 seats, support premises, and various assistant offices. The assembly hall is outfitted with the latest acoustic innovation for unparalleled sound clarity. A relatively basic edifice holds a café, bar, and stores. It’s incredible how all of the complex’s regions are linked.

Lifts connect the two halls to a lower court, which eventually include shops and a café. You may ascend the winding slope back to the central plaza or wander around a river that extends into the leisure area. The series of spaces connect the show house to the surrounding park, utilizing previously underutilized space and putting the drama house and its environmental features in a public location that is not just for show spectators.

Synergy of Culture | Guangzhou Opera House

The Guangzhou Opera House has acted as a stimulus for developing cultural amenities in the city, including new museums, libraries, and archives. The design of the Guangzhou Opera House is the latest expression of Zaha Hadid Architects’ unique examination of contextual urban linkages, blending the cultural traditions that have created Guangzhou’s history with the ambition and optimism that will determine its future.

Exterior connects developed in Guangzhou Opera house_©
An established spatial intervention curated for culture significance_©

A spatial intervention curated by Zaha Hadid breaks the conventional notions by conceptualizing the context to bring in the qualities that fit best. The design and its materiality focus on fusing the context’s cultural significance with the modernistic take and thoughtful integration of the social and geographical factors. A space that focuses on creating an experiential stage for all the people. An experience that allows for communication with the space. 


  1. Ding, G., 2019. Guangzhou Opera House: Building a Gated Public Space. Grand Theater Urbanism, pp.55-74.
  2. Anon, 2019. Guangzhou Opera House – Data, Photos & Plans. WikiArquitectura. Available at: [Accessed July 11, 2022]. 
  3. 2022. Guangzhou Opera House – Zaha Hadid Architects. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 July 2022].
  4. ArchDaily. 2011. Guangzhou Opera House / Zaha Hadid Architects. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 13 July 2022].
  5. Sinha, B., 2020. Zaha Hadid resisted typecasting, refused to repeat herself: Bidisha Sinha. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 13 July 2022].

Image References

  1. 2022. Guangzhou Opera House – Zaha Hadid Architects. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 16 July 2022].

A student with more words to write than the words to speak. Shreya Gajjar, contextualizing the tangible reality of the surroundings to an intangible form of writing. An admirer of human relations to its immediate matter and elements. She is pursuing the course of design that has helped her in amalgamating her thoughts in various aspects of design and expression.