Home Performing arts Curved roof includes seating at the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center

Curved roof includes seating at the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center

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Architecture firm Studio Zhu-Pei has completed a performing arts center in the Chinese city of Dali, featuring a corrugated roof that incorporates viewing areas and seating.


The art installation was commissioned by local professional dancer Yang Liping for a site northeast of the city’s historic center, where Beijing-based Studio Zhu-Pei has also designed a contemporary art museum.

Above: Studio Zhu-Pei built the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center under a corrugated roof. Above: the roof has seats

The design of the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center was directly influenced by the surrounding landscape of Dali, which includes the Cang Mountain Range and Erhai Lake.

The building has a rectangular roof that spans a landscape of flowing interior and exterior spaces, including performance areas that blur the line between landscape and stage.

Yang Liping Performing Arts Center Has Organic Form Informed By Mountains
The roof is covered with slate tiles and equipped with walkways

The slate covered roof has an organic profile informed by the outline of the surrounding mountains. The structure merges with the partly sunken garden spaces, creating a sense of connection between the ground and the roof.

“As with mountains and valleys, the strong shape of the roof reflects the more organic landscape below and harks back to the ancient Chinese principle of yin and yang, where two opposites combine to form a whole,” the studio.

A plaza is located under the slate roof of the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center
The underside of the roof is covered with wooden slats

A plaza that winds through the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center intersects a concrete volume containing the main theater, allowing its stage to be open to the outside.

Outside the main auditorium, a series of steps that lead up to the roof provide relaxed seating for watching live performances on the indoor stage or in the plaza.

The frame is covered on its underside with wooden battens arranged in a honeycomb. Skylights integrated into the glass roof allow daylight to filter through the wooden structure.

A cluster of treehouse-like towers stretch through the canopy, connecting ground level to a rooftop viewing area. These contain a cafe and a private tea room.

Steps lead up from the square to a rehearsal level in the basement
Grassy mounds are found throughout the center

The gently rolling landscape surrounding the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center includes grassy areas that extend to the surrounding area.

Beneath some of the grassy mounds is a basement containing rehearsal space and service areas.

Grassy mounds stretch around the Yang Liping Performing Arts Center
A trio of treehouse-like structures pierce the roof

Studio Zhu-Pei was founded by architect Zhu Pei in 2005. His previous work includes a museum of contemporary art in a former Beijing factory and a museum dedicated to ceramic production that features vaulted red brick structures. .

The photograph is by Jin Weiqi.


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