China, Qingdao 

Qingdao Grand Theater


International competition 2004 – 1st Prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Nicolas Pomränke
Staff 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 von Mansberg
Client Qingdao Conson Industrial Corporation
Lighting design Schlotfeldt Licht, Berlin
Construction 2005–2010
Total Gross floor area 80,000 m²
Opera house 1,600 seats
Concert and multifunction hall 1,200 seats
Multifunction room 400 seats
Media center
Conference center



Christian Gahl

Qingdao Grand Theater is situated on the eastern side of the city between a bay in the Yellow Sea and Mount Laoshan (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 enchanting landscape, 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 raised terraces in the surrounding park are reminiscent of a mountain plateau, and take their bearings both from the sea and the mountains. In addition to the opera house, Qingdao Grand Theater also hosts a concert and multifunctional hall, a media center, a hotel, and a conference center.
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 cloakrooms and 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 so that 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.