One of the greatest industrial cities in China, Taiyuan lies on the Fen River in the northern portion of the river’s fertile upper basin. Shanxi Grand Theatre, located beside the River Fen, is the finale of the urban design concept for the urban and cultural heart of the Changfeng quarter. Its grandiose form dominates the principal east-west axis leading from the City Hall Plaza to the river, and acts as a passage and a large window framing views of the river, the park, and the neighbouring mountain range, in the much the same way that significant views are framed in traditional Chinese gardens.
The grand entrance, the first step into the world of art and culture, is at the terrace level providing a belvedere with views of the river. Under the portico, the esplanade serves as an open space for outdoor activities, for celebrations and festivals. This is a stage open to the city. Flights of steps, on the city hall side to the west, reinforce the monumental effect of the complex. On the east side, the stairs are more spread out and form successive terraces descending gradually towards the river. Ticket sales, exhibition spaces, a bookshop and ancillary rooms are located beneath this area.
Framing the esplanade, the two main volumes of the concert hall and opera, provide seating for 1200 and 1650 spectators respectively. The concert hall’s volume is more vertical and solid in appearance, whereas the opera hall is more dynamic, like an inverted pyramid. Between these two volumes, the roof over the esplanade is folded so as to lighten its perceived form and capture light differentially. A theatre of 600 places is housed beneath the esplanade. Each hall, owing to its relative independence and location, benefits from the appropriate acoustic conditions and patterns of usage.
The theatre complex is 210 metres long and 57.5 metres high. It contains a 1650-seat opera hall, a 1200-seat concert hall, and a 600-seat theatre. In addition to this, it contains several VIP rooms, an exhibition space, practice rooms for music and dance, as well as a restaurant with panoramic views.
– Client: Shanxi Public Construction Committee
– User: Taiyuan City Department for Culture
Project Design Team
– Architect: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Acoustics: Jean Paul Lamoureux, School of Architecture of Tsinghua University
– Set designer: Jacques Moyal, General Equipment Design Institute, Zhejiang Research Institute of Stage Design Co.,Ltd.
Technical team: The Institute of Shanxi Architecture Design and Research
– City: Taiyuan
– Country: China
– Competition winner: 2008
– Completion: 2012
– Built area: 7.7 hectares
– Site area: 8.57 hectares
– Award: Silver Interarch Sofia 2009