National Centre For The Performing Arts, Beijing, China

Architecture & Interiors

While the Olympic Games in Beijing are approaching, another grand project for the host city is finished. The National Centre for the Performing Arts – 149.500 square
meters – is located on the Chang’An Avenue in Beijing. Designed by the famous French Architect Paul Andreu and his team, The
National Centre For The Performing Arts is separated from
the Tian An Men Square by The Great Hall of the People.


Resembling an island made of thin air, rising from a man-made lake, the
building houses an opera house (2416 seats), a concert hall
(2017 seats) and two theatres (one of 1040 seats) included
in a titanium and glass shell which houses the public space. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a
hallway that goes underneath the lake.


The titanium shell is broken by
a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top
to bottom
The glass opens the building like a curtain which, as we move
away, reveals the interior : the theatres, exhibition and public
spaces. The titanium protects and covers, creating darker
areas. The concept of the National Centre for
the Performing Arts is a cultural island in the middle of a


Other materials, like wood panelling and marble, are used to create interesting moods. The use of traditional Chinese motifs is also evident in certain parts of the building, but it is being done with taste and not gimmicky.


The elliptical dome (nicknamed The Egg by the locals) measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in
north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at
the north side.  The location, immediately to the west of Tian An Men Square and the  Great Hall of People, combined with the theatre’s futuristic design, created considerable controversy.


The architect countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional
Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as
the capital of the country and an international city of great
importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was
specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and
the Great Hall of People,
in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out
against them. Still, many locals believe that the contrast between the
building and its immediate environment is too large.


A big controversy over the cost of the building is still heating up conversations in China: at least 80% of the annual operational costs must be subsidized by the
government for at least the first three years after the opening, and
for the rest of its operational life, at least 60% of the annual
operational cost must be subsidized by the government.

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1 Comment

  1. David

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:50 am

    A shining example of ADEYAKA.

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