National Grand Theater--Paul Andrew's "Eggshell"
National Grand Theatre is colloquially described as The Egg, is an opera house in Beijing, China. Its location 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. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 6,500 people in three halls and is 200,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. 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.
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.
"According to French architect Paul Andrew, after the construction is completed, the Grand Theater will look like a huge green park with an oval and silver grand theater encircled by green water. The shell, made of titanium metal and glass together with day and night lights will add radiance and beauty to each other, and have fast-changing colors. The surroundings of the Grand Theater are semi-transparent, golden netted glass walls. People can see the sky inside the building through its dome. Some people describe the complete Grand Theater as "a crystal drop of water", other people call it a "big egg shell" or "boiled egg".
The Grand Theater project was approved by the State Council in April, 1998 and formerly put into construction on December 13, 2001. It is expected to be completed before October 1, 2005 and to present its first performance during the latter half of 2005.
It will be China's top arts performance center and a first class art palace.
Covering a total area of 118,900 square meters, the Grand Theater has a total floor space of 149,500 square meters. It is equipped with accessory facilities including halls for opera, music, drama, art exhibitions, as well as an art exchange center, and audio and video store. Opera, dancing and ballet will be mainly presented in the opera hall, which can accommodate an audience of 2,416. The Music Hall, which can accommodate 2,017, will mainly present large orchestral work and folk music. Drama and local opera including Peking opera will be staged in the drama hall.