Vertical circulation diagram for SOH 2
REX_SOH 2_01_VT diagram

Per the Jury’s request, the ensemble’s vertical transportation, life safety / evacuation, structure, constructability, and enclosure have been elaborated, and the viability of each confirmed through peer reviews.

Vertical Transportation

The Opera Hall / Concert Hall / Multifunctional Theater Building is accessed via eight 1600 kg 4 m/s double-deck elevators serving both the Opera Hall and Concert Hall and four 1800 kg 4 m/s single-deck elevators serving the Multifunctional Theater. In addition, a pair of escalators link the Gallery to the elevated lobbies of the Opera Hall and Concert Hall. The Operetta Hall Building is accessed from the Gallery via six 1800 kg 5 m/s single-deck elevators and a pair of escalators that similarly link the Gallery to its elevated lobby.

The worst average waiting times during any five minute period before performances (2.1 to 14.8 seconds, depending on venue) and the total time to clear the entire audience after performances (7 to 18 minutes, depending on venue) are all considered “excellent” by world’s standards.

A life safety diagram of SOH 2
REX_SOH 2_02_Egress diagram

Life Safety / Evacuation

To meet local code requirements, exit stairs are sized to accommodate 100 people per meter of stair width. Two refuge floors—and the required vestibules between them and the exit stairs—are provided for the taller building, and one for the shorter building. The auditorium and stage areas are served by independent smoke control systems with exhaust intakes at the ceilings; makeup air is provided at low level by louvers or with mechanical supply air. While local codes do not allow rooms larger than 400 m2 above the 3rd floor, a performance-based design approach developed with Authority Having Jurisdiction will facilitate the approval of such conditions in the design.

A structural diagram of SOH 2
REX_SOH 2_03_Structure diagram


The primary gravity and lateral support system of the Opera Hall / Concert Hall / Multifunctional Theater Building is a ‘Super Core’ of four mega-columns—square concrete tubes with 900 mm walls that house the building’s elevators and stairs—tied together by multi-story steel trusses. Additional multi-story steel trusses cantilever from the Super Core to form the perimeters of the three performance spaces, and the side- and backstages of the Opera Hall. Floor framing consists of deep, built-up girders or floor trusses that span to the perimeter trusses. Typical structural steel beams span to these girders or floor trusses, and support slab on metal deck.

The primary gravity and lateral support system of the Operetta Hall Building is identical to that of the taller building.


  1. Start Core Construction
  2. Erect Bottom Temporary Shores / Start Bottom Trusses
  3. Continue Core Construction
  4. Erect Middle Temporary Shores / Complete Bottom Trusses
  5. Complete Core Construction
  6. Erect Top Temporary Shores / Complete Top Trusses
  7. Remove Top and Middle Temporary Shores
  8. Remove Bottom Temporary Shores
A facade diagram of SOH 2
REX_SOH 2_05_Facade Diagram 1


Wrapping Shenzhen Opera House are two taut façade systems that simultaneously render the building monolithic and inviting: a ‘closed-cavity’ glass system with integrated screens at the four lobbies and two backstage windows, and an opaque travertine rainscreen on all other surfaces.

Closed-Cavity Glass System
The closed-cavity glass system acts as a thermal boundary—from which heat can be expelled in summer and harvested in winter—and as an acoustic buffer to outside noise. When closed, the motorized screens provide glare control and sun shading—reducing cooling loads—and unimpeded views and deep daylight penetration—reducing electrical loads—when open.

The closed-cavity glass system consists of three components: 1) an Exterior Glass Wall, 2) an Interior Glass Partition, and 3) Operable Glare- and Sun-Control Screens.

  1. The outer layer of the closed-cavity system, the Exterior Glass Wall is composed of approximately 3.4 m x 5.45 m insulated glass units (IGUs) with ultra-neutral, low-E coatings that reduce solar heat gain while maximizing visual transparency. The laminated layers of the IGUs achieve the wall’s necessary structural and safety glazing requirements and provide additional acoustical benefits. Tension cables support the wall from custom brackets inserted into the joints between the IGUs. The cables—located behind the IGUs’ vertical joints and spanning the full height of the glass wall—create a minimalist appearance without using framed mullions and transoms. Intermittent compression struts reach from the lobby balconies through the deep cavity to brace the tension cables, limiting deflection of the glass wall under wind loads.
  2. The inner layer of the closed-cavity system, the Interior Glass Partition is a system of frameless, laminated panels that span from lobby balcony to lobby balcony. The mullion-free design allows unimpeded views through the Operable Glare- and Sun-Control Screens and the exterior beyond.
  3. Occupying the airspace of the closed-cavity system, the multi-story Operable Glare- and Sun-Control Screens provide shading when closed and unobstructed exterior views when open. Suspended from the roof structure, the Screens are fully motorized and can either be programmed to track the sun’s rotation or operated at will.

Travertine Rainscreen
All opaque walls, sloped soffits, and roofs of Shenzhen Opera House are clad in a rainscreen of travertine panels. Travertine spline strips form a backer at the rainscreen’s open joints, enhancing its monolithic appearance while also providing back ventilation to its cavity. The stone panels sit on a subframe which is attached with thermally isolated brackets and clips to the back-up wall and primary building structure. Where the structure slopes and forms an underslung condition, thinner slabs of stone are laminated to a lightweight honeycomb backing substrate that keeps the stone from falling if broken. Mineral wool insulation and waterproofing—outboard of the exterior sheathing and primary building structure—provide the thermal and air barriers of the rainscreen wall.

A facade diagram of SOH 2
REX_SOH 2_06_Facade Diagram 2


The Gallery roof’s top surface is composed of IGUs with a thin photovoltaic (PV) layer incorporated into a triple laminated outer lite. The structure supporting the skylights consists of rectangular steel trusses supported by steel columns at the intersections of the canopy’s grid. Intermediate trusses further sub-divide the main bays. Girders and beams frame out openings that accommodate the unitized skylight assemblies, which are sloped slightly to shed rainwater. The PV layer’s pattern and color mirror the bamboo glare-control screens suspended below and let in 15% of light into the Gallery below. A gridded platform allows access to the underside of the skylights for cleaning and maintenance.

(/)   Prev / Next