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Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

Steven Chilton Architects reveals visuals of silk-informed theatre in Guangzhou

Steven Chilton Architects has revealed visuals of its Guangzhou Show Theatre, which is currently under construction in China.

Being constructed as part of a major attraction in the Huadu District to the north of the city of Guangzhou in southern China, the theatre will host performances by visiting production companies.

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

The theatre will have a 2,000-seat auditorium that will be enclosed in a facade directly informed by the city of Guangzhou's history as a key part of the Silk Road trading route.

"Our client wanted the architecture to resonate with the history and culture of Guangzhou," explained Steven Chilton Architects founder Steven Chilton.

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

"The city is historically significant as the starting point of the maritime Silk Road and has been an important trading port since the Han dynasty," he told Dezeen.

"Silk was first developed in China with the earliest examples dating back to before 3,500 BC, its historical and cultural significance appealed to us along with its unique physical properties."

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

The circular main auditorium will be located at the centre of the building with supplementary spaces arranged around it including a large, triple-height entrance hall.

Around the building, Steven Chilton Architect has designed a facade that is designed to resemble silk draped over the building.

It will be constructed from curved panels of perforated, anodised aluminium supported on a steel frame, which will be visible within the building's entrance hall.

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

"In plan, the building’s appearance is composed of 10 gently curving and twisting folds that have been designed to evoke the drape and texture of silk," said Chilton.

"Entrances into the building are formed by the seamless continuation of the 'silk' material as it tucks into itself at ground level," he continued.

"Silk is characteristic for its sharp highlights, in order to capture this effect we have proposed to use anodised aluminium for the cladding due to its sheen and specular properties."

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

The theatre's cladding will be bright red as a nod towards the values of the theatre company.

"Red corresponds with fire in Chinese culture and symbolises amongst other things good fortune, celebration, dynamism and joy," said Chilton.

"We felt these qualities resonated well with the spirit and values of the theatre company and the essence of their shows."

Guangzhou Show Theatre by Steven Chilton Architects

Chilton established London-based Steven Chilton Architects in 2015 after leaving architecture studio Stufish. The studio is also designing a domed theatre that will resemble an intricately carved ivory puzzle ball in Guangzhou.

It recently completed the Wuxi Taihu Show Theatre, which is wrapped in a steel structure designed to look like a bamboo forest, in China.

Project credits:

Architect: SCA | Steven Chilton Architects
Client: Sunac Group
Architecture and design management: Sunac Group
Concept engineer: Buro Happold Engineering
Theatre consultant: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
LDI: Tongji Architectural Design

More images and plans

Guangzhou Show Theatre plan
Guangzhou Show Theatre section
Guangzhou Show Theatre site plan
Site plan