Zaha Hadid Architects, London/UK ( First Prize )
Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Employees and Student Trainees:
Christos Passas, Tariq Khayyat, Nils Fischer, Dominiki Dadatsi, Marya Araya, Sylvia Georgiadou, Bence Pap, Eleni Paviidou, Daniel Santos, Daniel Widrig, Sevil Yazipi
Structure Engineers: Arup, London/UK
MEP Engineers: Ove Arup, London/UK
Theatre Consultants: Artec, New York/US
Explanatory report (abstract)
Inspired by the uniquely beautiful monument of Petra. ...We are applying the principle of fluid erosion and carving to the mass of the building for the performing arts centre.
The urban strategy pursues the maximization of open public space on the western edge of the site. The mass of the new building is therefore pushed into the eastern extension of the site to clear the wider western end for sake of creating a big public plaza. This plaza is important to activate the site and the new institutions. It is proposed a generous, diagonal underpass that emerges in the great plaza as a grand connective gesture.
The volume is opened up in the northwestern direction to communicate with the public plaza. This large, inviting opening- the multi-level public foyer- is pushed all the way through the building to connect with the south side. The internal voids open up to the roof, animating the fifth façade of the building. The Concert Theater is exposed at the end of the public void. The Small Theater is exposed overhead at the front of the building where the public foyer fuses with the public plaza.
The plaza ground outside receives the underpass coming from the GAM strip and thus cerates an amphitheater-like valley. The main access to the building is via the plaza. The interior void is forming an interior square open to public at daytime, serving as a shade gathering area, a plaza for information, ticket vending and exhibitions. From here the theaters are entered via a small buffer foyers.
The second entrance on the elevated south side of the building is used as VIP entrance with a drop off point directly at the door. The artists and staff entrance is located at the east side of the building. Here a green lounge and artist's café is welcoming all those who actively contribute to the creativity of the institution.
Along the south side runs a continuous spine with service and supports space. On the western side of this back-spine, above the main entrance, all educational facilities are allocated.
Remarks by the jury
The Jury was unanimous in recognition of the poetic and expressive qualities of the proposed architecture for Darat King Abdullah II, Amman Jordan. Beyond the first sight attractions, the closer examination of the proposal started to reveal the special attributes regarding the approach to the site and the context, the suggested weightlessness of the opaque monolith and the unavoidably felt, massive presence of the emptiness. The shifting interceptions of light by the hyperspatial surfaces evoked the timelessness of wind worn memories of the mountains of the region. One could hear the wind in, through and around the cave like interfaces among the building and the site so generously liberated and enhanced through pushing the building to the Northeast edge of the site.
The Jury was concerned about the excessive ratios between the gross floor area and the utilization area, the challenges of large cantilevers and the very tall glass enclosures, especially in an earthquake zone. Of special concern was the vulnerability of the scheme to security threats and the financial feasibility of the project within the budgets. It is strongly suggested to identify potentials for the reduction of areas and volumes to meet with the budget. The construction of three-dimensionally shaped concrete to the degree of finesse as shown in the proposal requires proof of feasibility under local conditions.
The proposed theatres came under special scrutiny and it was the opinion of the technical consultants of the Jury that the small theater did not fulfil the client requirements. The auditorium was found to be deficient in its functionality both in plan and section especially regarding the sightlines, circulation and flexibility. Of special concern was the location of the small theater and its stages at the high level resulting in access and security problems.
As a conclusion, the jury praised the design for its unique strengths and contribution to the site, the city and the region.