Located close to Lake Taihu in Jiangsu Province, China, the Wuxi Taihu Show Theatre concept was inspired by the Sea of Bamboo Park in Yixing, the largest bamboo forest in China. The 2000 seat theatre has been designed to house a permanent water show by Franco Dragone, who is known for his work with Cirque du Soleil.
Designed by London based Steven Chilton Architects, the building’s appearance is composed of three primary elements, the columns, the shade canopy and the building envelope.
Representing an abstract impression of a bamboo forest, the slender white columns are positioned around the perimeter of the building in such a way as to provide a screen between the building façade and surrounding landscape.
The shade canopy wraps around the perimeter of the building at roof level. Conceptually, it represents the canopy of leaves that exist at the top of a bamboo forest. The canopy is made up of various triangular bays containing rows of gold anodised aluminium louvres. Each bay is orientated randomly to create an organic quality to the structure and light and shade patterns that fall across the building envelope through the day.
The building envelope is primarily composed of rendered and painted block-work and curtain wall glazing. The glazing is the full height of the building in and above the entrance lobby to provide maximum views into and out of the main public areas. It is fretted with white and gold stripes that travel the full height of the building mimicking the ‘bamboo’ columns and contributing to the effect of the building being the outer edge of a forest of bamboo.
At night, the building envelop is illuminated from below, becoming an ethereal beacon, glimpsed between the forest of ‘bamboo’ columns, drawing spectators and audience in from across the lake and surrounding development. The Wuxi Taihu Show Theatre is scheduled to open in December of 2019.