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Beijing National Theatre

By china tour on 12/17/2009 5:20:00 PM | Beijing Tours

Beijing National Theatre, formerly known as the National Grand Theatre, the nickname The Egg, is situated on the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People in Xicheng District. It is an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake. Occupying an area of 200,000 square meters, it can seat 6,500 people in three halls. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001.
The theatre's futuristic design created considerable controversy. Paul Audreu said 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. To melt into the surroundings, the large open space, water, trees, are specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, opposed to standing out against them.
The building, a titanium accented glass dome surrounded by the man-made lake, look like an egg floating on water. It was designed as an iconic feature like the Sydney Opera House. 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.