28/10/2010: Inauguration

Qingdao Grand Theater opens after five years’ construction work

The new opera house for the metropolis of Qingdao in Eastern China was opened yesterday. The design by architects Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Nicolas Pomränke beat off rival bids from eleven international firms in 2004. Construction has taken just under five years. The Qingdao Grand Theater includes an opera house that can accommodate up to 1,600 people, a concert hall for 1,200 and a multifunction hall with 400 seats. In addition, there are a museum and a hotel.

Local and national representatives were present at the opening ceremony. Qingdao Grand Theater is architectsgmp’s second venture of this kind in China, following Chongqing Opera House, which was completed in 2009.

Qingdao Grand Theater is situated on the eastern side of the city between a bay in the Yellow Sea and MountLaoshan (1,130 m above sea level). Because of the unique situation of the massif directly by the sea, the Laoshan ridge is often wreathed in cloud, which creates a unique setting. The style of the building echoes the enchantinglandscape, with the massif and the lightness of the clouds reflected in the appearance of the opera house. It rises from the landscape like a mountain — and a cloud-like roof seems to wreathe the four buildings. The raisedterraces in the surrounding park are reminiscent of a mountain plateau, and take their bearings both from thesea and the mountains.

The opera house itself lies at the northern end of the ensemble of buildings, offering direct views of the coast.Audiences can enter the auditorium on two levels, either via the lower level, giving access to the large cloakroomsand the lower circle, or via the main foyer above with its large glass facades and view of the terrace, park and Yellow Sea. The walls and floor of the foyer are clad with local stone, which emphasizes the affinity of the building with the mountain.

The stage and backstage areas are equipped to the highest international standards. They are flexibly designed sothat events of different nature and scale can be performed, whether operas, musicals, ballet or acrobatic performances. The upper circle and dress circle levels offer optimum sightlines for the whole audience.

The concert hall and multifunction hall are accommodated in a single structure, but their functions have beenclearly separated from each other so that two events can be staged simultaneously and independently of each other. The foyer of the concert hall is on the upper floor, which gives access not only to the concert hall but also the cloakrooms and a section of the catering facilities. The auditorium complies with international standards inequipment and acoustics. The semicircular stage allows the conductor, his orchestra and the choir to see eachother clearly. The multifunction hall is accessed via a broad flight of steps on the lower flower, and can be usedfor conferences, festive events or exhibitions, etc.

International competition 2004 – 1. Preis
Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Nicolas Pomränke
Clemens Kampermann, Li Ling, Annette Löber, Lin Wei, Thomas Krämer, Johannes Erdmann, Kian Lian, Gerd Meyer, Helga Reimund, Chongsong Dong, Xin Meng, Jochen Sültrup, Sophie v. Mansberg
Qingdao Conson Industrial Corporation
Construction period
Total GFA
60,000 sq. m.
Opera house
1,600 seats
Concert and multifunction hall
1,200 seats
Multifunction room
400 seatsIn addition to the opera house as well as the concert and multifunctional hall, Qingdao Grand Theater also hosts a media center, a hotel, and a conference center.

Christian Gahl

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