Yiwu, in China’s Zhejiang province, has established itself internationally for its strong economy, as the world’s largest wholesale commodities market. Domestically, it is traditionally known as a city of trade, thus making it an integral part of the country’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’ While being a hub of growing international commerce, the city decided in 2018 that it would focus on culture to further elevate its soft power, and hosted an international competition to design the ‘Yiwu Grand Theater.’ MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong, competed against four other global architecture firms, coming out ahead of Arata Isozaki & Associates, Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, GMP, and KDG, to secure the project.
▼义乌大剧院远景鸟瞰图，distant bird-eye’s view of the Yiwu Grand Theater
Located on the south bank of the Dongyang River, the ‘Yiwu Grand Theater’ encompasses a grand theater (1600 seats), medium theater (1200 seats), and international conference center (2000 person capacity). Positioned with the mountains in the distance as its backdrop, and the water as its stage, MAD’s design responds to its locale, and appears as a boat, floating on the river.
▼义乌大剧院近景鸟瞰图，远山是背景，近水是舞台，大剧院漂浮在水面上，close bird-eye’s view of the Yiwu Grand Theater, positioned with the mountains in the distance as its backdrop, and the water as its stage, the theater floats on the river
It is defined by a layering of glass sails that are reminiscent of the Chinese junks that once transported goods across the waters, while their subtle curves echo the Jiangnan-style eaves of the ancient vernacular architecture that is typical of the region. The transparency and lightness of the glass express the texture of thin, silky fabric, creating a dynamic rhythm that makes them appear as if they are blowing in the wind. They act as a protective canopy around the building, resonating with the river, elegantly floating above the water’s surface, setting a romantic atmosphere. To reduce overall energy consumption, MAD has conceived the theater with a passive solar design. Thus, the semi-transparent glass curtain wall has been developed to not only act as a shading system, but to also optimize the use of natural light within the indoor public spaces, forming a solar greenhouse effect in the winter. In the summer, it serves as the ventilation system, enhancing airflow circulation inside and outside of the building.
▼义乌大剧院外观，采用通透轻盈的材质，一片片幕墙层叠交错，exterior view of the Yiwu Grand Theater defined by layers of transparent and light glass curtain walls
▼义乌大剧院外观，幕墙轻微的弧度呼应了江南的片瓦式建筑形态，exterior view of the Yiwu Grand Theater, the subtle curves echo the Jiangnan-style eaves of the ancient vernacular architecture that is typical of the region
▼义乌大剧院外观局部，半透明的玻璃幕墙可以起到遮阳的作用，partial exterior view of the Yiwu Grand Theater, the semi-transparent glass curtain wall can act as a shading system
Envisioned as a public space for the city, the ‘Yiwu Grand Theater’ is easily accessed from all directions. Vehicular transportation can enter from the south shore, while tree-lined foot bridges from the north offer pedestrians the opportunity to meander along the water and enjoy views of the city, theater, and greater waterfront as they approach the building. Emphasizing public interaction, the scheme features an amphitheater and large open plaza that extends into the water on its southern edge, while landscaped terraces offer elevated views of the site’s surroundings, and areas of quiet contemplation – an immersive natural experience in the urban context.
▼大剧院的屋顶室外花园平台，在此欣赏周边的美景，the landscaped terraces that offer elevated views of the site’s surroundings
▼大剧院室内公共空间，玻璃外墙和半透明的玻璃幕墙确保了室内外的视线和自然采光，interior public space, glass facades and semi-transparent glass curtain walls offer a visual connection and adequate natural light
▼剧院空间，the interior theater space
The ‘Yiwu Grand Theater’ has been designed as a monument for the city, that will serve to connect inhabitants to the waterfront from a new perspective. In its completion, it will stand as a world-class venue that will attract visitors from around the globe, putting Yiwu on the map as a cultural destination. Construction on the ‘Yiwu Grand Theater’ is expected to begin in 2020.
▼建筑模型俯视图，大剧院被分为两个体量，由中间的室外公共空间连接，top view of the physical model, the theater is divided into two volumes that are connected by an outdoor public space
▼建筑模型鸟瞰图，bird-eye’s view of the physical model
▼义乌大剧院实体模型远景，distant view of the physical model of the Yiwu Grand Theater
▼义乌大剧院实体模型近景，close view of the physical model of the Yiwu Grand Theater
▼义乌大剧院实体模型局部，剧院在水面上投下倒影，physical models of the Yiwu Grand Theater that is reflected on the water surface
▼义乌大剧院外观局部，一连串楼梯将人们引上中心位置的室外公共空间，partial exterior view of the Yiwu Grand Theater, a series of stairs lead people up to the central outdoor public space
▼义乌大剧院总平轴测图，the site and theater axon of the Yiwu Grand Theater
▼义乌大剧院一层平面图，first floor plan of the Yiwu Grand Theater
▼义乌大剧院二层平面图，second floor plan of the Yiwu Grand Theater
建筑面积：95,290 平方米（地上：48,942 平方米；地下：46,348 平方米）
设计团队：朱禹豪，郑程文，Kazushi Miyamoto，尚荔，马寅，Jordan Demer，郭文嘉，朱子潇
Site area: 47,000 square meters
Building area: 95,290 square meters (ground: 48,942 square meters; underground: 46,348 square meters)
Clients: Administration Committee of Silk Road New District of Yiwu; Culture, Broadcasting & Television, Tourism and Sports Bureau of Yiwu; Yiwu City Construction Investment Group Limited
Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partners in Charge: Fu Changrui, Liu Huiying
Design Team: Zhu Yuhao, Zheng Chengwen, Kazushi Miyamoto, Shang Li, Ma Yin, Jordan Demer, Guo Wenjia, Zhu Zixiao