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Gehua Youth and Cultural Center / Open Architecture

  • Architects: Open Architecture
  • Location: Qinhuangdao, China
  • Architect in Charge: Li Hu, Huang Wenjing
  • Project Team: Qi Zhengdong, Thomas Batzenschlager, Zhao Yao, John Lim, Wang Jianling, Wu Lan, Ge Ruishi, Sigmund Lerner, Zhu Deshun
  • Local Design Institute: CABR Technology Co., LTD
  • Lighting Consultant: Beijing Bamboo Lighting Design
  • Construction Team: Hebei Construction Group, Jiangsu Construction Engineering Group
  • Area: 2700.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Xia Zhi

© Xia Zhi © Xia Zhi © Xia Zhi © Xia Zhi

From the architect. This pioneer youth and cultural center is located in Beidaihe, a seaside town with exceptional historical and cultural significance. The whole building is surrounded by nature, protected from the noises and chaos of the city. The 2,700 sqm's building has various functional requirements: theater, gallery, activity spaces, DIY space, café, book bar, multi-media hall, master studio, VIP room and so on. With the aim of maximizing both the preservation of nature on site and the diversity of spatial qualities, OPEN designed a building which is completely fused with nature. Free flowing indoor spaces fully connect to the outdoor landscape. The same space can assume different functions for different occasions. The central courtyard is not only part of the landscape throughout the year but it is also an extension to the theatre for hosting a much larger crowd watching performances. The roof is covered with green and a variety of suitable outdoor activities, so 100% of the land is effectively used, an important aspect of the camp's operation.

© Xia Zhi
© Xia Zhi

Although the theatre is relatively small with about 120 seats, it is designed and equipped to be able to host high quality professional performances. When both sets of folding doors behind the stage are fully opened, the courtyard suddenly becomes a part of the theatre, creating a delightful surprise that transforms the small theatre into a large performing arena. The performers act and dance inside and outside, taking in the natural elements outside as part of the performance. The spectators will enjoy a totally different kind of theater experience both novel and unexpected. In another occasion, the courtyard risen along the slope can be an ideal auditorium for both performances and open-air cinema.

© Xia Zhi
© Xia Zhi

The building is funded by Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, and will be the base for the Little Angle Action Fund under the China Youth Foundation for their Camp Experience and Training Center. It also serves as a cultural center for Beidaihe’s local communities.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Gehua Youth and Cultural Center / Open Architecture" 01 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>