The Beijing International Theatre Center / BIAD Huyue Studio
Text description provided by the architects. The Beijing International Theatre Center is an expansion project of the Beijing People’s Art Theatre (BPAT), located on the premises of the latter in Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, on the east side of the Capitol Theater. With a range of functions including drama performance, artistic creation, rehearsal, display, machine room, and parking。
With the completion of the Beijing International Theatre Center, the renowned BPAT has added two new theaters, including a medium-sized professional drama theater “Caoyu Theater” able to accommodate about 700 spectators, and a “BPAT Small Theater” able to accommodate about 300 spectators. The total built-up area of the project is 23,000 square meters, with 3 floors above ground and 4 floors under. The height of the fly tower at the highest part of the building is 25 meters in a structural form of reinforced concrete frame shear wall。
Located in the alley in the center of the old city of Dongcheng District, the project is subject to extremely limited space, obliging the use of a compact layout to reconcile land use with functional requirements in architectural design. The project features a north-south layout, with the small theater located above the backstage of the Caoyu Theater. As the project is adjacent to the “Capital Theater”, a historical structure built in the 1950s, the facade is designed to ensure harmony with the colors and hues of the latter, while adopting a simple and modern style. The project is located in the courtyard, and another traditional-style courtyard was built outside the theater to fit in with the environment. Entering the theater, the visually striking glass brick wall in the front lobby is displayed in front of people. Using bricks the size of courtyard bricks.
“Cao Yu Theater”, which is dominated by wood and gray brick colors, has a good sense of enclosure and appropriate scale throughout the auditorium, which is stable, traditional, and intimate. The auditorium consists of a pond seat and two floors of seats, with a variety of internal surface concave and convex shapes and textures, which not only provide the acoustic effect of the micro-diffusion surface but also form a contrast of warmth and shades with the dark gray uneven “gray brick” GRG wall at the back, which fits the design elements of Beijing traditional residential courtyard.
The “BPAT Small Theater” with an overall black and gray tone is a typical black box theater. The wall adopts the same Class-A fireproof wood veneer as “Caoyu Theater”, and features two surface treatment methods: ordinary and micro-perforated sound absorption. The color changes on a spectrum ranging from black to warm gray with different shades, with four randomly arranged colors.
After the completion of the Beijing International Theatre Center project, it was put into trial operation in July 2021, with very good audience feedback. Carrying forward the fine traditions of the Capital Theater and in the spirit of seeking harmony while retaining diversity, the Beijing International Theatre Center Project has created new theater buildings that echo the styles of modern times. It has become a new cultural landmark in the core area of Wangfujing.