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Falling to pieces: Hadid's Guangzhou opera house

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The Daily Telegraph has reported that Zaha Hadid’s £65 million Guangzhou Opera House, China is falling apart - just months after opening

According to the newspaper ‘cracks have appeared in the walls and ceilings, glass panels have fallen from its windows, and rain has seeped relentlessly into the building’ since completing last year (AJ 18.11.10).

The article corroborates claims by an anonymous AJ reader who reported late last year that the building already had ‘tiles falling off’, looked like ‘it has been in a couple of shunts’ and appeared ‘20 years old and in need of a full refurb’.

Speaking to the Telegraph Yu Huiyao, the deputy manager of contractor the Guangzhou Construction group, allegedly said it had been ‘extremely difficult to fulfil Hadid’s extraordinary vision’ and that the complexity of the scheme had initially been underestimated.

A spokesman for the practice said: ‘Our client and contractor have been extremely supportive since the inception of this project, which has been realised with dedication and diligence.’

‘There were a few superficial issues that, in accordance with our client, are currently being addressed.’


Ben van Bruggen, director Urban Design of Savills

‘When I first visited in December last year I thought its exterior troubling. A repeat visit a month later when it was finished didn’t allay my fears. The construction of the building facade did not look well executed. It is unfortunate the design of the building did not appear to consider, or was modified by, the ability to build it or maintain it here. The quality of construction in China is improving but is it up to the ambition of such design? 

‘I also think that the building misses the opportunity to enhance its context. The City Authorities made a tremendous effort to promote public space and created a new linear Haixinsha Park linking Haixinsha Island, the location of the Open Ceremony of last years Asian Games, and the business district with new open spaces and automatic transit system below the Park. The vista terminating with the Canton Tower. While the Opera House has a public space to the south, the important pedestrian approaches from the business district to the north and the park to the east are, in my view, particularly poor.’ 






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