China opens its new “Birth of Venus Opera House”
Located at Yeli Island in Zhuhai, China, the Zhuhai Opera House (known as the ‘Birth of Venus Opera House’, took eight years to complete at a total cost of $160 million, and will provide much needed tourism to the area.
Spanning heights of 90 metres, architect Chen Keshi was inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s 15th century painting The Birth of Venus, providing a stunning cultural icon into the city, beating over 30 international architectural firms in the construction. Keshi has also become the first Chinese architect to succeed in an international bid to build an opera house.
Built on reclaimed land opposite the seafront, the opera house incorporates two shells, one spanning 90 metres and the other 60 metres. The larger incorporates a performance hall seating over a thousand citizens, an auditorium, stage and lobby area, which will showcase large performances, both theatrical and musical.
The smaller shell encompasses a seated theatre for 500 visitors, but is ideal for corporate businesses and cultural events.
“It is of inestimable value to Zhuhai and It will become a symbol of the city, like the Sydney Opera House, attracting many tourists as well as lovers of opera. It will be there forever”, commented Keshi.
Constructed with approximately tonnes of steel and encompassing LED lighting, the opera shows can be projected live outside the main building. The design was inspired by the Asian moon scallop, at which the design can withstand all weather conditions, such as severe earthquakes and strong winds which would otherwise affect the build’s foundations.
Above the large main hall incorporates a restaurant, bar and area for fashion events, in addition to a sightseeing area.
This story was previously seen in The Global Construction Review
Read the November 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas
Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”.
Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026.
According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.
This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.
Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers.
Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings.
Three facts about bullet trains
- The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard.
- Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one.
- The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.
Image: Texas Central LLC.