National Grand Theatre

National Grand Theatre, Beijing - China, Paul Andreu
Address: West Chang an Ave | National Grand Theatre | | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 39.9047, 116.39

The National Grand Theater Beijing, also known as the National Centre for the Performing Arts, The spectacular glass and titanium egg-shaped Opera House, designed by French architect Paul Andreu. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m2 in size. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.


The exterior of the theater is a titanium accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to look like an egg floating on water. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable, like the Sydney Opera House.

National Grand Theatre, Beijing - China, Paul Andreu

The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom.


Immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and near the Forbidden City, combined with the theatre s futuristic design, created considerable controversy. Paul Andreu countered that although there is indeed value in ancient traditional Chinese architecture, Beijing must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance. His design, with large open space, water, trees, was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.

National Grand Theatre, Beijing - China, Paul Andreu


The initial planned cost of the theatre was 2.688 billion Renminbi. When the construction had completed, the total cost rose to more than 3.2 billion CNY. The major cause of the cost increase was a delay for reevaluation and subsequent minor changes as the precaution after a Paris airport terminal building collapsed. The cost has been a major source of controversy because many believed that it is nearly impossible to recover the investment. When the cost is averaged out, each seat is worth about ? half a million CNY. The Chinese government answered that the theater is a not for profit venture.

Contributed by ArchiTeam

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