The Qujiang Creative Cultural Centre Opens in Xi'an

Designed by The Oval Partnership, the centre is a subterranean cultural venue that reinterprets classic Chinese architecture through a fresh, futuristic lens


Qujiang Creative Cultural Centre aims to become the heart of a new urban district in the historic city of Xi’an. Spanning 2,000 square metres and boasting a 400-seat theatre, multipurpose gallery, exhibition spaces, cafe and bar, the creative centre lies beneath Qujiang Creative Circle’s central plaza. The primary entrance to the centre is a pavilion that rises above ground and opens into an elevated entrance space that will play host creative events and exhibitions.

The design team was inspired by the traditional Chinese lian lang, a corridor and transitional space that connects buildings. More than just a connecting structure, lian lang were highly crafted spaces that encouraged social and cultural interaction between scholars. Taking their cues from this idea, the team from The Oval Partnership worked with local craftsmen to create 8,000 intricately crafted bronze metal flutes that are suspended from the ceiling, rise from the floor and cantilever from the walls in the public chamber. The flutes are paired with a dramatic 13-metre-long draped metallic veil suspended from the ceiling. Throughout the spaces, the team’s experimentation with contrast —light and dark, hard and soft, permanence and ephemerality — is clear, and the result is an innovative space that looks to the future of the city’s cultural community while referencing traditional aesthetics.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Boris Shiu