Scottish firm secures first project in China
Keppie, Scotland’s largest architecture practice, has secured its first architectural project in China. The firm will design a community theatre as part of a mixed-use urban masterplan, for Chinese client Yuanyi Baizhuang Investment Group. The 850-seat Huangshan Theatre will be designed to a brief led by Chen Weiya, best known for being Assistant Chief Director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
David Ross, Design Director at Keppie said: “The speed of development in China married to the search for an architectural identity that combines rich cultural traditions with contemporary western influences, is a very powerful attraction. During our recent trip to present our ideas to our client, we observed the extremes of Shanghai's modern fast paced business centre and Huangshan's more traditional Chinese lifestyle at the foot of the Yellow Mountains where our project is located. As anticipated, cultural influence and traditional craftsmanship abound hence we are looking to interpret these within a contemporary interior architecture.”
Keppie will work to a masterplan, named Grand View in Huangshan, designed by Hong Kong architects and engineers Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man.The buildings that surround the new theatre employ a more international style with only subtle hints at traditional detail and decoration. They are all part of a relatively low rise mixed-use district comprising mainly retail, restaurant and leisure facilities.
Ross adds: “With contemporary Chinese architecture now characterised by a willingness to experiment both in design and materials, the reinterpretation of multiple cultural influences and contexts by a new generation of architects and students makes China an exciting place in which to work. Our developing design concept for the theatre was to refer to this shift by beginning with a traditional Chinese design language and reinvigorate it by giving it a contemporary form, expressed in a slightly unexpected way.”