Wuxi Grand Theatre – PES Architects – China Mar20

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Wuxi Grand Theatre – PES Architects – China

Wuxi Grand Theatre – PES Architects – China

Wuxi Grand Theatre – PES Architects – China

Wuxi Grand Theatre – PES Architects – China

Architect: PES ARK

Location: Wu-Li Lake, China

Client, building developer: Office for the Important Urban Projects in Wuxi

Client, user: Wuxi Culture and Art Administration Center

Gross area: 77,252m²

Construction: 2009-2011

The main idea of Wuxi Grand Theatre is based on its location. The manmade peninsula on the northern shore area of Taihu Lake and the highway bridge nearby make this location comparable to that of Sydney Opera House. Due to this location the building is an impressive landmark, rising up to a total height of 50 meters like a big sculpture from the terraced base. Its eight gigantic roof wings stretch far over the facades, giving the building a character of a butterfly, while protecting the building from the heat of the sun and harvesting the rain water.

The architectural concept is unique: inside the steel wings are thousands of LED lights, which make it possible to change the color of the wings according to the character of the performances. This is possible, because the underside of the wings is covered by perforated aluminum panels. Another special light feature is the forest of 50 light columns, each 9 meter high, which start from the main entrance square, support the roof of the central lobby and continue outside of the lakeside entrance into the lake. These light elements connect the city and park exterior surroundings with the theater venue.

There is a strong Chinese feature that runs throughout the whole building: the large scale use of bamboo which is both a traditional and a modern Chinese material. Recently new methods for the production and use of bamboo have made it possible to cover the Main Opera Auditorium with over fifteen thousand solid bamboo blocks, all individually shaped according to acoustic needs and architectural image.

There is also a material with a Finnish character: Twenty thousand custom designed glass bricks with a water pattern cover the curved wall of the opera auditorium in the lakeside lobby. Finnish nature, lakes and ice, were the architectural inspiration.