gmp's Grand Theater in Tianjin opens like a sea shell on the water-side
Nestled in the newly formed Culture Park of Tianjin, Gerkan, Marg und Partners’ (gmp) Grand Theater has just opened its doors to an eagerly awaiting public. Situated on the edge of a lake, the site is separated from the busy hubbub of Tianjin as vehicular traffic is steered away from the waterside, creating a serene environment for enjoyment and education through the arts.
Taking inspiration from the water-side setting, gmp’s structure takes a shell-like form, it’s exterior delicately curved encasing three ‘pearls’: the opera hall, concert hall and a small multifunctional room. This natural form creates a bold cantilever which offers shelter from the hot sun over a pedestrian walkway parallel to the lake.
gmp say of their design: “The roof construction is a transformation of the traditional Chinese element of multiple eaves and thus defines a system of common horizontal layers, which creates an architectural entity of roof, façade and stone base.
“The circular shape of the roof construction corresponds with the existing Museum of Natural History so that an architectural dialogue of an earth-bound and a ‘floating’ circular volume is created to both ends of the park. Earth and sky represent a fundamental thinking in Chinese philosophy.”
The three performance spaces are set on a stone slab and connected by a series of stairways in a cavernous atrium space, neutrally furnished and bathed in natural light. Slim façade panels cast ribbons of shade into the interior, furthering gmp’s connection to the Chinese philosophy of earth and sky.