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Wuzhen Theater

In this romantic and surreal water village in China, the owner of the development decided that Wuzhen would be an important name in the global atlas of theater where an international theater festival would be located. In order to complete his vision, Kris Yao and his team was asked to design the Wuzhen Theater.

Courtesy of Artech Architects – Photography: David Chen

The greatest challenge was to design a large building containing two theaters with 1200 and 600 seats back to back, with modern theater functions in this small, traditional water village in southern China. Using the culturally auspicious “twin lotus” as its metaphor, which functions perfectly with two theaters sharing one stage area, the design is composed of two oval shapes interlocking one another, one of them transparent and the opaque in form.

Courtesy of Artech Architects – Photography: Fei-Chung Ying

Due to its dual purposes of the theater festival and tourism, the functions of the theaters are multifold. Possibilities include formal stage performances, avant-garde creations, fashion shows, conventions and wedding ceremonies.

Courtesy of Artech Architects – Photography: Fei-Chung Ying

Visitors arrive at the theaters by wooden boats or on foot from an island across the bridge. The smaller theater to the right is located within the “solid’ volume, where petal-like segments of thick reclining walls, clad in ancient super-sized brick, wrap around the foyer. The grand theater to the left, enclosed in the zigzag fan-shaped glass front with a Chinese window motif, glows in the evenings and reflects on the water, adding charm to the already misty and surreal atmosphere of this otherworldly water village.

Courtesy of Artech Architects – Photography: David Chen

Project Info
Architects: Artech Architects
Location: Zhejiang, China
Design Architect: Kris Yao
Design Team Taipei: Kuo-Chien Shen, Winnie Wang, Wen-Li Liu, Jake Sun, Andy Chang, Kevin Lin
Design Team Shanghai: Wen-Hong Chu, Fei-Chun Ying, Nai-Wen Cheng, Chu-Yi Hsu, Qi-Shen Wu, Jane jiang, Lei Feng
Contractor: Jujiang Construction Group
Area: 21750.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Type: Theater
Photographs: David Chen, Fei-Chung Ying

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