Shenzhen Opera House


Shenzhen, China

Project: Shenzhen Opera House Design Competition

Client: Municipality of Shenzhen 

Program: Performing arts complex 

Size: 167,000 m² (1,800,000 sf)

Budget: Confidential

Location: Shenzhen, China

Collaborator: Consortia with REX

Consultants: Agence Ter, Arup, Atelier Ten, Cost Plus, Front, Magnusson Klemencic, Theatre Projects, Threshold


The Shenzhen Opera House is the most important of the Ten Major Facilities in a New Era program launched by the City of Shenzhen. It is intended as a new cultural landmark and world-class art palace. The program includes an Opera Hall, Concert Hall, Operetta Hall, Multifunctional Theater, and support spaces, on a 43-acre (17.5-hectare) landfill peninsula along Shenzhen Bay.

The REX + JET team was 1 of 17 shortlisted chosen. They were one of the top 6 finalist in the Shenzhen Opera House  International Competition and were awarded 3rd place winner.


The cultural tower achieves the Sydney Opera House’s extraordinary presence (minus the expensive,superfluous Blanket) with its unusual form and unexpected height, establishing it as a landmark in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Of equal importance, its stacking also liberates an exceptional public space on Shenzhen Bay. With the majority of the site dedicated to landscape for citizen’s enjoyment, Shenzhen Opera House advances China’s goal of becoming an “ecological civilization.”

Wrapped in Chinese Golden Travertine Shenzhen Opera House is reminiscent of a Shoushan stone seal,

a modern totem at once a symbol of a rich heritage and a future that sets new paradigms. Stacking four large performance venues demands a robust vertical transportation system for both front-of-house
and back-of-house circulation. 


To this end, a highly efficient ‘Super Core’ of elevators and stairs rises through the center of the totem. Composed of circulation columns tied together by steel trusses, the Super Core also functions as the building’s primary structural framework from which are cantilevered the auditoria and the side- and back-stages. 

In contrast to the increasingly stylized auditoria shapes that prioritize fashion over performance, Shenzhen Opera House’s halls are contemporary interpretations of the pure geometries of historic precedents. All four venues employ a similar materials palette that increases in richness from the exterior Golden Travertine, to the bamboo of the lobbies, to the mahogany of the auditoria.