The National Centre for the Performing Arts (National Grand Theatre), described as The Egg, is an opera house in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. It was designed by French architect, Paul Andreu, and is meant to look like a water drop in a pool of water.
Design of Opera House with large open space, water and trees was specially designed to complement the red walls of ancient buildings and the Great Hall of the People, in order to melt into the surroundings as opposed to standing out against them.
The Centre is made like ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an man-made lake. Many features of the building were meant to allow the building to sink into the background rather than stand out against the surrounding of ancient buildings. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable.
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. The Egg has seats for 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m2 in size. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.
Alongside the three main halls, a collection of spaces known as ‘The Fifth Space’ were design to impress visitors coming to look at the architecture. The Fifth Space is comprised of the Underwater Corridor, the Olive Hall, an exhibition gallery, a press room, a terrace lounge as well as souvenirs shops, and several cafés.
Beijing indeed value ancient traditional Chinese architecture but it must also include modern architecture, as the capital of the country and an international city of great importance.