Wuxi Grand Theatre
by PES-Architects

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Eight huge wings resembling a cluster of duck feet form the roof of this theatre in Wuxi, to the west of Shanghai, designed by Finnish practice PES-Architects (+ slideshow).

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Pan Weijun

Wuxi Grand Theatre is situated on a manmade peninsula on Taihu Lake.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Kari Palsila

The perforated aluminium panels on the roof are lit up by thousands of colour-changing LEDs.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Glowing columns are dotted around the main entrance square and continue inside the building where they support the roof of the central lobby.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

The main auditorium is covered with 15,000 solid bamboo blocks designed to enhance the acoustics of the space.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Kari Palsila

Around 20,000 custom-made glass bricks cover the curved wall of the auditorium in the lobby area overlooking the lake. "Finnish nature, lakes and ice" were the inspiration behind this part of the building, say the architects.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Kari Palsila

The theatre has been shortlisted for an award at this year’s World Architecture Festival, which takes place from 3-5 October. The full shortlist is available to read on Dezeen.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

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Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Kari Palsila

Photographs are by Jussi Tiainen except where otherwise stated.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Here's some more information from the architects:


Wuxi Grand Theatre

In 2008, PES-Architects won the first prize in the invited international architectural competition for Wuxi Grand Theatre. The other competitors were established and well-known practices from Germany, France, Japan and Denmark. 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.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

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.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

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.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Above image is by Martin Lukascyzk

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.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Architecture and interior design: PES-Architects
Project: Wuxi Grand Theatre
Address: to the North of Jinshi Road, North bank of Lake Li, Taihu New City, Wuxi, P.R.China
Client: Office for the Important Urban Projects in Wuxi /Fan Chun Yu, Zhou Jian
User: Wuxi Culture and Art Administration Center
Floor area: 78 000 m2
Year of completion: 2012
Start of design: 2008
Competition: June 2008

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Plan – click above for larger image

Architects:

Competition, 2 phases:
PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen and Tuomas Silvennoinen (main designers), Tristan Hughes, Jouni Rekola, Michael Bossert, Heikki Riitahuhta, Tomi Laine, Miguel Pereira, Emanuel Lopez, Elina Modeen, LaiLinLi, Fang Hai
UDG: Sun LiYang, Gu ZhiPeng, Guan XiaoJing

SD-, DD- and CD-phases:
PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen (project leader and chief designer), Martin Lukasczyk (project architect/ project manager), Elina Modeen (project manager China), LaiLinLi (project manager China), Fang Hai, Julia Hertell, Tristan Hughes, Vesa Hinkola, Willem-Anne van Bolderen, Miguel Pereira, Nicholas Capone, Marcelo Diez, Jani Koivula, Heikki Riitahuhta, Tomi Laine, Yang Yue
UDG: Zhang Min, Guan XiaoJing, Teng Xu

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Main auditorium section – click above for larger image

Interior design: PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen, Martin Lukasczyk, Kai Lindvall, Satu Ristola

Landscape design Finland: Maisemasuunnittelu Hemgård: Gretel Hemgård, Vilja Larjosto
Landscape design China: Feiscape, Shanghai
Structural design Finland: Vahanen Group: Matti Haaramo
Structural design China: Shanghai Institute for Architectural Design and Research SIADR, Shanghai

HVAC design Finland: Climaconsult: Harri Ripatti
HVAC design China: SIADR, Shanghai
Lighting design Finland: Valoa Design: Roope Siiroinen, Marko Kuusisto
Lighting design China: Enjoy, Shanghai

Acoustic design Finland: Akukon & Kahle Acoustics: Henrik Möller, Ekhard Kahle, Thomas Wulfrank
Acoustic design China: Zhang Kuiseng, Shanghai
Stage design Finland: Akukon: Henrik Möller , Janne Auvinen
Stage design China: SBS, Beijing

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Section – click above for larger image

Other participants:

Bamboo: Yrjö Kukkapuro, Fang Hai
Space programme: Finnish National Opera/ Timo Tuovila
Special glass bricks: Tapio Yli-Viikari and Kirsti Taiviola (Aalto University), Niu Fanzheng, Lu Ye
Glass column consulting: Glaston: Pekka Nieminen

Local partners:

Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co. SIADR (DD and CD phases)
Gold Mantis, Suzhou (interior design DD and CD phases)
United Design Group Co.Ltd. UDG, Shanghai (competition phase and SD phase)

Material suppliers:

Bamboo interiors: Dasso Co, Hangzhou
Roof material: Rheinzink Co, Shanghai
Glass elevations: Pilkingtong Co, Shanghai
Glass Bricks: SIP Pengli Visual Mastermind & Design Co. Ltd.

Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects

Elevation – click above for larger image

Contractors:

Construction administration & client: Office for the Important Urban Projects in Wuxi/ Fan Chun Yu, Zhou Jian
Construction supervision: Zhejiang Tiangnan Project Management Co. Ltd
Main construction company: China Construction 3rd Engineering Bureau/ CSCEC
Steel structure construction: Jiangsu Huning Steel Mechanism Co. Ltd
MEP: China Construction Industrial Equipment Installation Co. Ltd
Stage machinery: SBS Bühnentechnik GmbH/ SBS Stage Equipment Technology (Hangzhou) Co. Ltd
Stage machinery supervision: ENFI
Acoustics: Huisitong Acoustic Technology Enineering Co. Ltd
Stage lighting: Hangzhou EKO Light
Facades: Wuxi Jingcheng Curtain Wall Engineering Co. Ltd
Interior construction: Gold Mantis, Decoration Co. Ltd. of China Construction 3rd Engineering Bureau, JiangSu XinHuaDong Construction Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd, Hua Ding Construction Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd
Landscape construction: Shanghai Landscape Construction & Design Co. Ltd, Yixing Hydo-Engineering Co. Ltd
Building automation: ZheDa Innovation Technology Co. Ltd