Text description provided by the architects. In this romantic and surreal water village in China, the owner of the development decided that Wuzhen would be an important name in the global atlas of theater where an international theater festival would be located. In order to complete his vision, Kris Yao and his team was asked to design the Wuzhen Theater.
The greatest challenge was to design a large building containing two theaters with 1200 and 600 seats back to back, with modern theater functions in this small, traditional water village in southern China. Using the culturally auspicious “twin lotus” as its metaphor, which functions perfectly with two theatres sharing one stage area, the design is composed of two oval shapes interlocking one another, one of them transparent and the opaque in form.
Due to its dual purposes of the theater festival and tourism, the functions of the theaters are multifold. Possibilities include formal stage performances, avant-garde creations, fashion shows, conventions and wedding ceremonies.
Visitors arrive at the theaters by wooden boats or on foot from an island across the bridge. The smaller theater to the right is located within the “solid’ volume, where pedal-like segments of thick reclining walls, clad in ancient super-sized brick, wrap around the foyer. The grand theater to the left, enclosed in the zigzag fan-shaped glass front with a Chinese window motif, glows in the evenings and reflects on the water, adding charm to the already misty and surreal atmosphere of this otherworldly water village.