Zhengzhou Grand Theater by The Architectural Design and Research Institute of HIT

Zhengzhou Grand Theater

Located in the middle of Zhengzhou’s Public Cultural Service Area, Zhengzhou Grand Theater mainly accommodates a theater hall (1,687 seats), a concert hall (884 seats), a multifunctional hall (421 seats), an opera rehearsal hall (461 seats), and other ancillary spaces. Zhengzhou Grand Theater, as the highest-level performing arts landmark in Central Plain Region of China, takes “A boat of art sailing on the Yellow River” as the design concept.

When night falls, the bright lighting indoors penetrates the large glass curtain wall, and the “sails” transform into a giant curtain. The audience’s activities inside are revealed obscurely, which vividly interprets the artistic character of the Grand Theater as a performing arts building. This project is a large comprehensive performance arts building. Its high complexity is reflected in the following aspects.


Functional complexity
The four major independent halls are integrated in this large comprehensive building, with multiple functions, large audience capacity and complex circulations. In light of it, the design needed to reasonably organize the layout of all functional halls and the circulations of both people and logistics.

Acoustic complexity
The design had to fully respond to the different acoustic requirements of the four major halls, to ensure quality sound effects and avoid mutual acoustic interference.

Structural complexity
The project is a long-span building, with a length of 204m. Based on the characteristics of the architectural form, the exterior structure adopts steel trusses, and the roof is formed by grid structures, supported by three tower-like concrete bottom structures, together creating a new, distinctive mixed structural system.

Fire protection complexity
The architecture consists of four performance halls. There are special requirements for fire compartments, width of evacuation path, number of emergency exits and evacuation distance. Specifically, as the fire compartment exceeds the conventional area limit, a performance analysis was necessary.

Simplification is at the core of the design. By combing “sails” of different curvature with oblique texture, the facade units were optimized into irregular hyperbolic surfaces. Modeling and parametric design were applied to make repeated comparisons of the unit division solutions. Eventually, a 2mx3m vertical unit that can be lifted for assembly was chosen.

Those modular units create a curvy form that emulates the irregular flow of the Yellow River featuring nine major curves. Meanwhile, those components could be manufactured in a standardized way, hence simplifying the construction process and saving cost. The ingenious hemispherical facade with a concave, reminiscent of the shape of hemispherical nails of traditional Chinese palace gate, creates an exterior that blends both traditional and innovative features.

The use of self-supporting U-shaped aluminum tubes and the manual wire drawing and coating techniques, enables those aluminum components to break free from the keel and appear more graceful. At the same time, the manual wire drawing process created a multi-layered bronze-tone texture. Combined with the cultural context of the Xia and Shang dynasties, the Yellow River and the local opera elements, it presents the building’s historical significance both visually and metaphorically.

Another creative design is reflected in the water drop-shaped skylights featuring a light-guiding internal surface, which reduces the weight, as well as construction and maintenance cost compared with traditional reflective glazing surface. The roof adopts a combination of steel mesh, lightweight steel-frame composite panel and TPO waterproofing membrane, which reduces the construction cost, improves the safety of waterproofing system, and enhances the roof’s wind resistance as well as sound insulation performances compared with traditional standing seam steel roofing.

Since its completion, Zhengzhou Grand Theater has received more than 20 provincial and municipal delegations and held numerous events, including 2021 Zhengzhou Spring Festival Gala, opening ceremony of the Yellow River Culture Month, performances by visiting theaters of other provinces, and more. It also provided a venue for the ceremony of the 29th Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Awards and various cultural performances, gaining wide recognition from society.

In the future, Zhengzhou Grand Theater will strengthen its role in invigorating the performing arts market and make cultural events more accessible to the public. It will continue to enhance the cultural image of the city and itself as a benchmark of local cultural landmarks, so as to contribute to constructing “cultural Zhengzhou, civilized Zhengzhou”. Source by The Architectural Design and Research Institute of HIT.

  • Location: Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China
  • Architect: The Architectural Design and Research Institute of HIT
  • Lead Architect: Mei Hongyuan
  • Design Team: Mei Hongyuan, Chen Jianfei, Zhao Jian, Wu Xinde, Chen Yu, Bai Yu, Zhang Daiyan, Wang Congfei, Zhang Xiaodong, Wang Zhimin, Zhang Lixin, Yuan Zhenjun
  • Construction: China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., Ltd.
  • Site Area: 50,942.97 Square Meters
  • Gross Floor Area: 127,739.67 Square Meters
  • Year: 2020
  • Photographs: Wei Shuxiang, TimeRaw studio, Courtesy of SUNSHINE PR