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Wuxi Grand Theater

Updated : 2016-03-10

Wuxi Grand Theater

The Wuxi Grand Theater stands on the south bank of Taihu Lake and covers a total area of more than 70,000 square meters.

The building was designed by Finnish architect Pekka Salminen. Its design is based on its location. The manmade peninsula on the northern shore area of Taihu Lake and the nearby highway bridge make this location comparable to that of the Sydney Opera House.

The building is consequently an impressive landmark, rising up to a total height of 50 meters like a big sculpture from its terraced base. Eight gigantic roof wings stretch far over the facades, giving the building the character of a butterfly, while protecting it from the heat of the sun.

Pekka said that the Wuxi Grand Theater is a work of art, advertising Wuxi as an environmentally-friendly city.

The theater reflects the green design concept of joining an environmental and ecological concern with efficient use of energy. The wing-like roof suggests the ecological concern, as it minimizes the size of the building’s temperature control. The building uses energy from the lake and its intelligent and energy-saving outside walls for its cooling and heating.

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 undersides of the wings are covered by perforated aluminum panels. Another special feature is the "forest" of 50 light columns, each 9 meters high, which start from the main entrance square, support the roof of the central lobby and continue through the lakeside entrance to the lake.

A strong Chinese feature that runs throughout the whole building is the large scale use of bamboo, both a traditional and modern Chinese material.

New methods for the production and use of bamboo have made it possible to cover the main theatre auditorium with over fifteen thousand solid bamboo blocks, all individually shaped according to acoustic needs and architectural image.

The main auditorium has 1,680 seats split up into main stalls and two balconies. The horseshoe shape and compact volume combined with variable acoustics create a flexible venue which can host traditional western style or Chinese operas, theatre performances, classical concerts, and even conferences.

The main auditorium is combined with a smaller one of 700 seats which is designed as a multifunctional black box theatre with retractable seats and multiple options for seating layouts.

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