When the Pingshan District government in Shenzhen, China, asked Beijing’s OPEN Architecture to design the first theater in the area, architects aimed for a design that was both energy efficient and dynamic. The resulting product, the new Pingshan Performing Arts Center, accented social inclusivity by acting as a new cultural hub with amenities included for both theater fans and the public in general. Featuring a public promenade and accessible gardens, the modernistic theater also includes a restaurant, a cafe, social and educational programs, and a wide landscaped roof that aids in the relief of the urban heat island effect.4
Built in a four-year time period, the Pingshan Performing Arts Center does away with fancy exteriors, typical of many Chinese theatres, and features instead a climate-responsive facade enshrouded in precision-engineered perforated aluminum V sections that shield the structure from sub-tropical sun exposure while promoting natural ventilation.
At the core of the new performing arts center — also known as the “drama box” — is a 1,200-seat grand theater enshrouded in dark red wooden panels that can be seen from within the building and up on the roof, where the fly gallery can be viewed. The grand theater is bordered by small functional spaces and a public promenade that connects a cafe, a black box theater, instructional spaces, rehearsal space, a casual exterior theater and multi-level outdoor gardens.
The main attraction at this theatre is a winning production starring sustainability, culture, and inclusivity—that alone merits rave reviews.