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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Wuxi Grand Theatre in Jiangsu, China by PES-Architects

March 17th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: PES-Architects

Finnish Design is internationally reknownfor its concepts of clear and functional style, which meet the needs of the users from a long term perspective.  The first large scale example of Finnish design in China was completed by the opening of the Wuxi Grand Theatre in April 2012.  Its design was not only a question of architecture, but the whole design- from functional program to interior design, landscape design, theatre technology, lighting and acoustic design – was controlled by the PES-Architects’ team.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

  • Architects: PES-Architects
  • Project: Wuxi Grand Theatre
  • Location:  to the North of Jinshi Road, North bank of Lake Li, Taihu New City, Wuxi, P.R.China
  • Photography: Jussi Tiainen, Pan Weijun, Kari Palsila
  • Client: Office for the Important Urban Projects in Wuxi/Fan Chun Yu, Zhou Jian
  • User:  Wuxi Culture and Art Administration Center
  • Floor area: 78 000 m2  
  • Year of completion: 2012
  • Start of design: 2008
  • Competition: June 2008

Image Courtesy © Pan Weijun

  • Architects:
    Competition, 2 phases:

    -PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen andTuomasSilvennoinen (main designers), Tristan Hughes, Jouni Rekola, Michael Bossert, HeikkiRiitahuhta, TomiLaine, Miguel Pereira, Emanuel Lopez, ElinaModeen, LaiLinLi, Fang Hai
    -UDG: Sun LiYang, GuZhiPeng, Guan XiaoJing
    SD-, DD- and CD-phases: -PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen (project leader and chief designer), Martin Lukasczyk (project architect/ project manager), ElinaModeen(project manager China), LaiLinLi (project manager China), Fang Hai, Julia Hertell, Tristan Hughes, VesaHinkola, Willem-Anne van Bolderen, Miguel Pereira, Nicholas Capone, Marcelo Diez, JaniKoivula, HeikkiRiitahuhta,TomiLaine, Yang Yue
    -UDG: Zhang Min, Guan XiaoJing, TengXuInterior design:
    -PES-Architects: Pekka Salminen, Martin Lukasczyk, Kai Lindvall, Satu Ristola

Image Courtesy © Kari Palsila

  • Landscape design Finland:Maisemasuunnittelu Hemgård:Gretel Hemgård, Vilja Larjosto
  • Contractors:
    Construction administration & client: Office for the Important Urban Projects in Wuxi/ Fan Chun Yu, Zhou Jian
    Construction supervision: Zhejiang Tiangnan Project Management Co.Ltd
    Main construction company: China Construction 3rd Engineering Bureau/ CSCEC
    Steel structure construction: Jiangsu Huning Steel Mechanism Co. Ltd
    MEP: China Construction Industrial Equipment Installation Co. Ltd
    Stage machinery: SBS Bühnentechnik GmbH/ SBS Stage Equipment Technology (Hangzhou) Co. Ltd
    Stage machinery supervision: ENFI
    Acoustics: Huisitong Acoustic Technology Enineering Co. Ltd
    Stage lighting: Hangzhou EKO Light
    Facades: Wuxi Jingcheng Curtain Wall Engineering Co. Ltd
    Interior construction: Gold Mantis, Decoration Co. Ltd. of China Construction 3rd Engineering Bureau, JiangSuXinHuaDong Construction Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd, Hua Ding Construction Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd
    Landscape construction: Shanghai Landscape Construction & Design Co. Ltd, YixingHydo-Engineering Co. Ltd
    Building automation: ZheDa Innovation Technology Co. Ltd

Image Courtesy © Kari Palsila

Normally in Finland the architect holistically designs important public buildingsfrom the client’s first thoughts to the interior design details and is in charge of coordinating the works of all special consultants.Professor Pekka Salminen, the founder of PES-Architects, and his design partner, architect Tuomas Silvennoinen, want to promote this type of“Design Thinking” in China.

Image Courtesy © Kari Palsila

Their argument is, that without a head designer with an overall understanding and knowledge of the entire design and construction process, the criterions for sustainable development cannot be realised. Time shows the long-lasting values of architecture. This is particularly important and acute in China, which is the largest construction site in the world and where all building projects are realised with astonishing speed.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

Wuxi Grand Theatre 

In 2008, PES-Architects won the first prize in the invited international architectural competition for Wuxi Grand Theatre.The other competitors were established and well-known practices from Germany, France, Japan and Denmark.

The main idea of Wuxi Grand Theatre is based on its location. The manmade peninsula on the northern shore area of Taihu Lake and the highway bridge nearby make this location comparable to that of Sydney Opera House.  Due to this location the building is an impressive landmark, rising up to a total height of 50 meters like a big sculpture from the terraced base. Its eight gigantic roof wings stretch far over the facades, giving the building a character of a butterfly, while protecting the building from the heat of the sun.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

The architectural concept is unique: inside the steel wings are thousands of LED lights, which make it possible to change the colour of the wings according to the character of the performances. This is possible, because the underside of the wings is covered by perforated aluminium panels.  Another special feature is the “forest” of 50 light columns,each 9 meter high, which start from the main entrance square, support the roof of the central lobby and continue outside of the lakeside entrance into the lake.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

There is a strong Chinese feature that runs throughout the whole building:the large scale use of bamboo which is both a traditional and a modern Chinese material. Recently new methods for the production and use of bamboo have made it possible to cover the Main Opera Auditorium with over fifteen thousand solid bamboo blocks, all individually shaped according to acoustic needs and architectural image.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

There is also a material with a Finnish character:almost twenty thousandspecially designed glass brickscover the curved wall of the opera auditorium in the lakeside lobby.Finnish nature, lakes and ice, were the architectural inspiration.  Earlier references of PES-Architects international projects include St Mary’s Concert Hall in Germany and Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Finland.

Image Courtesy © Jussi Tiainen

In China, a mix-use 192m high-rise building in is currently under construction in the city of Chengdu,the result of a first prize in an international architectural competition in 2009.  To emphasize the experience of being 8 years in China design and construction market, PES-Architects inAutumn 2011 opened the Chinese design company PES-Architects Consulting (Shanghai) Co.Ltd.

Image courtesy PES-Architects

Image courtesy PES-Architects

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