E-JUST - Perspective


National Grand Theater Limited Competition


Beijing, China

Cultural Facility


Site Area: 38,916 sqm

Total Floor Area: 129,820 sqm

Our proposal for the National Grand Theater extends the historical and spatial continuity of Tian An Men Square. On this basis, a completely new architectural form is created to symbolize to contemporary China. Three major architectural elements which characterize the visual impression of Tian An Men Square are extracted: Plinth, Colonnade and Roof. By virtue of the advancing computer technology, the three elements are transformed into contemporary figures. The Grand Roof dynamically undulates in a three dimensional field. It becomes the third roof of Tian An Men Square, following the predecessors of the yellow roof of Tian An Men Rostrum and the layers of cornice lines of the Great Hall of the People. This curved surface is the contemporary re-interpretation of large curved roofs of Chinese traditional architecture well represented by the monuments of the Forbidden City and Tian Tan Park. Structurally the curved roof is modeled and analyzed as a shell. And it is realized in cast-in-place reinforced concrete with steel plate form works. Shipbuilding technology is applied in the welding of the forms. The complex shape of the roof was not only made possible by the utilization of computing power, but a thorough persuasion for the structural rationality assures the construction technology.
The Opera House, Theater, Concert Hall and Mini-Theater are accommodated under this single continuous floating surface. The difference of the space volumes of those internal functions are the deciding factors for the height of undulation of the roof. The height of the peripheral edge of the Grand Roof is 22.5m, which aligns the height of the eaves of Tian An Men Rostrum. The middle part of the roof has some convex undulation. For example, the fly tower of the Opera House rises up to the height of 45 meters. The highest part of the Concert Hall and the Theater is 33 meters. The red plinth of Tian An Men Rostrum is taken into the design of the National Grand Theater in the form of the red sandstone wall. The inside of this 15-meter height wall holds four layers of floors, and it houses the backstage facilities such as dressing rooms and offices. The height of Tian An Men Rostrum plinth is 13.5 meters, and it establishes a visual continuity to the red sandstone wall. The colonnade of the Great Hall of the People is symbolically transferred to the main entrance plaza, where the National Theater directly faces Tian An Men Square. This outdoor space under the canopy of the Grand Roof has the height of 22.5 meters and forms an introductory space into the entire building. Together with an open front plaza and the indoor concourse enclosed by the glass curtain wall, the shaded entrance plaza creates the major public access. Under the canopy a forest of white marble columns, 1.2 meters in diameter, celebrates this space.