With the city of Zhangjiagang, China lacking their own identity, Gras Arquitectos aims to create a presence and scale with their Tangram Theatre, which won the second prize in the international competition. This mutual need can enable the creation of a new urban icon, an item that addresses a new identity to the city. Historically, the icon of Chinese cities is the pagoda: from the forbidden city to the unknown monument in rural China. The architects intend to create a theatre that becomes a sort of pagoda, icon for the city. More images and architects’ description after the break.
How can the building evolve from the straight forward icon-pagoda solution to a more conceptual one? Combining the natural feature of the water, the river, natural icon, and the artificial icon, the pagoda. Combining the 2 icons: the natural, river, and the artificial, pagoda, The truth, reality of the architectural icon, pagoda, blurs in the water reflection: this distortion of the real thing, equal in soul but vague in the form can be matched to the dream world of the theatre: a blurred representation of the reality: things that appear what they are but are not: the Chinese theatre.
Therefore, how to represent and in what order, the reflection, the idea resulting of putting together the architectural icon of the pagoda together with the natural feature, the river, and the new reality obtained combining both, the imaginative world of the theatre? The formal answer is TANGRAM, a reality that distorts and re.-arranges according to it´s own laws and geometry: Tangram, the new theatre of the city of Zhangjiagang.
Tangram is a game with figures and the Chinese theatre is a representation of those figures. The shape of the building, based on Tangram geometry, reflects within its geometry a crucial feature of the soul of the program the building houses: the theatrical figurative representation. Form and function have an intimate and clear conceptual relation.
The building consists on a clear representation of the Tangram where every part of the program is part of one of the pieces. The building rises on top of a natural plinth that houses the parking and service areas. A natural path through this plinth gives Access to the building, where due to the its elevation a beautiful panorama of the surroundings is achieved. From that level all the different parts of the buildings join together to form the Tangram.
Architects: Gras Arquitectos
Location: Zhangjiagang, China
Team: Guillermo Reynés with Elena Gil, Alvaro Pérez, Neus Frontera and Miguel Salvá
Program: Theatre 7000 m2