Heatherwick Studio has been selected to design a tropical performing arts centre for the island province of Hainan, at the southernmost point of China. The studio was chosen following a competition, organised by Haikou Tourism & Culture Investment Holding Group, to envision a landmark building for a new cultural quarter in the island’s capital, Haikou. The studio’s design provides three performance spaces – an opera house, a concert hall and a theatre – that come together as a focal point under a sweeping canopy, which partly references the island’s incredible geology. The new performing arts centre will have capacity for 3,800 people and integrate arts, creative, learning, rehearsal and performance spaces. The venue aims to stage international productions that range from large-scale opera, ballet and musicals to avant-garde drama, fashion and immersive multimedia performance. It will form a key component of the Jiangdong cultural quarter, located just east of the historic city centre. The creative process involved a team of makers and engineers who crafted the design through physical and immersive digital modelling alongside rigorous testing and data analysis. As a result, the project responds intelligently to the local ecology and climate, reducing energy consumption and costs while cooling the environment for visitors and users of the space. This will be the first opera house the studio has designed. Construction is expected to start towards the end of 2022.