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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.