This unique building called Wuxi Grand Theatre was designed by Finnish practice PES-Architects and it is situated on a manmade peninsula on Taihu Lake in west Shanghai. The theatre has been shortlisted for an award at this year’s World Architecture Festival, which takes place from 3-5 October. 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.
The architectural concept is unique: inside the steel wings are thousands of LED lights, which make it possible to change the colour of the wings according to the character of the performances. This is possible, because the underside of the wings is covered by perforated aluminium panels.
Another special feature is the “forest” of 50 light columns, each 9 metres 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. 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 15,000 solid bamboo blocks, all individually shaped according to acoustic needs and architectural image. There is also a material with a Finnish character: almost 20,000 specially designed glass bricks cover the curved wall of the opera auditorium in the lakeside lobby. Finnish nature, lakes and ice were the architectural inspiration.
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