The Importance Of Being Iron

Edited by: Enrico Mancini

Where: Dalian, China

Architecture: Coop Himmelb(l)au




“The urban design task of the Dalian International Conference Center is to create an instantly recognizable landmark at the terminal point of the future extension of the main city axis. As its focal point the building will be anchored in the mental landscape of the population and the international community.”


These are the words the Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au choose to explain the new massive conference center they design for the city of Dalian, China.


“A public zone at ground level allows for differentiating accessibility for the different groups of users. The actual performance and conference spaces are situated at +15,30 m above the entrance hall. The grand theater, with a capacity of 1.600 seats and a stage tower, and the directly adjacent flexible conference hall of 2.500 seats, are positioned at the core of the building.”


The twisted steel is becoming more and more an identity mark for Wolf D. Prix and his partners. It has reached an almost-self-copy pick if we consider the Busan Cinema Centre in South Korea and the BMW Welt in Munich, Germany.


The language is the same, but applied at the opposite extreme of the world.


opera section

The images showing the building process are, not only from an architect point of view, very impressive. The Godzilla-sized iron bones and ribs intertwining together are an amazing engineering show, and it’s a bit sad to see the (nevertheless remarkable) aluminum skin covering it all.


The iron structure looks like a beautiful, twisted, gigantic constructivist dream, but when everything is finished and wrapped up in those shiny metal leaves, it all simply looks like Zaha’s last landmark. Or a spaceship.




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About the Author

Enrico Mancini

I was born in Turin in 1984, I've completed my architectural studies at the Università degli studi di Trieste in 2012.
I've worked in Gorizia and London and today I'm working in Italy as co-founder for the architectural firm zero40lab and for it's side project associazione zero40.
At the same time I'm part of Posi+tive Magazine's architecture department team as author.

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