This article was published on CityMetric on 22 May 2017.
The turn of the last century was a pretty good time to be a big-shot architect with an eye on China.
Paul Andreu, a French architect, is the brains behind the gargantuan National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, a hulking egg of curving glass, costing upwards of £300m to build in time for a July 2007 opening.
Sitting bizarrely on the reflective surface of its own artificial lake, the complex hosts a concert hall, an opera house, and a theatre – adding up to an impressive total of 5,473 seats. The dome is panelled with Brazilian mahogany, which hardly comes cheap, and floors are covered in marbles of differing shades sourced from 22 different provinces, blended to form a contiguous but varied textured surface.
In short, it’s an impressive space inside, and a formidable landmark from outside.