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Huangshan Theatre Development, Anhui Province, China

Part of ‘Grand View’ Masterplan, Huangshan building design by Keppie Architects, UK

27 Jan 2010

Huangshan Theatre Development

Keppie Builds On International Reputation With First Venture Into China

Location: Huangshan, Southern Anhui Province, Eastern China

Design: Keppie, Glasgow, Scotland

Keppie, one of the UK’s leading design practices, has secured its first architectural project in China. The firm will design a community theatre as part of a mixed-use urban masterplan, for Chinese client Yuanyi Baizhuang Investment Group.

The 850-seat Huangshan Theatre will be designed to a brief led by Chen Weiya, best known for being Assistant Chief Director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With a career that started in dancing, Chen Weiya reached the top of his profession in China and is now a world renowned choreographer who has just been appointed as Chief Director of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Guangzhou Asian Games 2010.

Huangshan Theatre Huangshan Theatre China

David Ross, Design Director at Keppie said: “The speed of development in China married to the search for an architectural identity that combines rich cultural traditions with contemporary western influences, is a very powerful attraction. During our recent trip to present our ideas to our client, we observed the extremes of Shanghai’s modern fast paced business centre and Huangshan’s more traditional Chinese lifestyle at the foot of the Yellow Mountains where our project is located. As anticipated, cultural influence and traditional craftsmanship abound hence we are looking to interpret these within a contemporary interior architecture.”

Ross continued: “We are delighted to be working with someone of Mr Chen’s reputation and already our meetings have prompted a number of stimulating ideas which are helping to reinforce and improve our original concept design. Our client is very interested in new ideas and their enthusiasm for the design process is infectious. We are looking forward to building on our developing connections in China and I hope that the success of this project leads to many more in the months ahead.”

The Huangshan Theatre project follows on from expansion of Keppie Design into various North African and Middle East markets, most notably Libya, where the practice recently completed the design of 8 university campuses.

Keppie will work to a masterplan, named ‘Grand View’ in Huangshan, designed by Hong Kong architects and engineers Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man.

The buildings that surround the new theatre employ a more ‘international’ style with only subtle hints at traditional detail and decoration. They are all part of a relatively low rise mixed-use district comprising mainly retail, restaurant and leisure facilities.

Ross adds, “With contemporary Chinese architecture now characterised by a willingness to experiment both in design and materials, the reinterpretation of multiple cultural influences and contexts by a new generation of architects and students makes China an exciting place in which to work. Our developing design concept for the theatre was to refer to this shift by beginning with a traditional Chinese design language and reinvigorate it by giving it a contemporary form, expressed in a slightly unexpected way.”

Huangshan Theatre information from Keppie

Location: Huangshan, Southern Anhui Province in Eastern People’s Republic of China

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