Innovation That Matters

The centre sits on a plateau between the Cangshan mountain range and Erhai lake. | Photo source Studio Zhu-Pei

Chinese performing arts centre inspired by nature

Arts & Entertainment

The roof, which merges organically with the ground, evokes the concept of erasing the boundaries between performer and spectator

Spotted: Chinese architecture office Studio Zhu-Pei has led the design and development of a performing arts centre in the city of Dali. The arts facility was commissioned by Yang Liping, who is a local dancer and choreographer of Bai ethnicity. 

The design comprises a large canopy roof and flowing topography to invite users into an open plaza, which was inspired by local nature and climate. The open plaza features a theatre box that allows the plaza to be used as an interior-exterior performance space. 

The centre sits on a plateau between the Cangshan mountain range and Erhai lake. “This performance space uses the blurred boundary between landscape and stage to also explore and erase the boundaries between performer and spectator,” explains Studio Zhu-Pei. 

The shaped roof is inspired by the outline of the surrounding mountains, merging organically with the garden spaces on the ground and creating a sense of connection between the ground and the roof. The roof’s interior side is covered by wooden battens arranged in a nest-like composition with enough space to allow daylight to filter through. 

The steps which ascend to the roof are multifunctional, providing seating for viewing performances on the indoor stage or in the plaza. Treehouse-like towers also provide access to the roof while containing a cafe and a private teahouse. 

At Springwise, we are seeing an increasing number of architects embrace the virtues of nature in their designs. Examples include this passive house which uses a living roof to blend into the surrounding woodland, and an underwater bicycle parking garage designed to provide a relaxing environment for both people and aquatic life.

Written By: Katrina Lane

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