Arquitectura Viva
Friday, September 25, 2020

MAD, Yiwu Grand Theater (China)

Ma Yansong’s Beijing-based firm MAD designed this theater complex like a boat floating on the Dongyang River in Yiwu, in China’s Zhejiang province. Its design won an international competition in which Arata Isozaki & Associates, Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, and GMP, among others, participated.

Characterized by semitransparent glass ‘sails’ and surrounded by water, the ensemble comprises two theaters and a conference center – seating 1,600, 1,200, and 2,000, respectively – that rise beside a large plaza. Interspersed with landscaped terraces, the superposed glass pieces that form the enclosure present subtle curves, in reference to the eaves of the region’s ancient vernacular architecture. Bridges connect the complex to the river’s south and north banks, separating vehicular from pedestrian circulation. Construction is to begin in 2020.
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