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The National Grand Theater: Designer Paul Andreu and his kid
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17:46, September 27, 2007

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The National Grand Theater, located on the west side of the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing, has finally reached completion. After more than five years of construction and a controversial debate, the theater held its debut performance on September 25.

The theater has attracted much attention for its location, design, and shape. It has been referred to as the "Egg shell" or "aquatic bright pearl" among people. Meanwhile, for Paul Andreu, the designer of the project, it is a kid; and whether it will be a landmark for China, or even a symbol for new generation of architecture as the Louvre Pyramid and Centre Georges Pompidou are in the world, depends on its following.

Paul Andreu, chief designer of China's National Grand Theater

On the afternoon of September 25, Paul Andreu, the designer of the National Grand Theater had an on the spot interview with People's Daily Online.

Maybe the Review for National Grand Theatre project will get you more background information.

Completely modern, but not offensive

When you saw the actual audience coming in for the first time, how did you feel?

I feel well and in a way, it's not so bad. It's the end of a long, long work and I think we almost reached the end of creation.

From the beginning, the building of the theater aroused many disagreements and construction even shutdown for a period. Now it is complete and has become a symbol of Beijing. Won't the new building clash with all the profound traditions and ancient architecture in Beijing?

Andreu: I believe the ancient and the modern should live together and respect each other. You shouldn't make out an ancient city to be a kind of dead city, where everything has to look ancient, or has to be…but at the same time you should not spoil it. So, in this building, we've paid a lot of attention to have trees, and to have water, as it is in the park on the other side of the avenue, and as it is all around the Forbidden City. We put also a lot of attention to respect all the town fabric, and symmetry lines that assist people.

By the form, by the soft form: when we see it from afar, when you see from the white Pagoda in Beihai Park, this form doesn't hurt the sky, It goes very softly, you hardly see it in the grey of the sky. You see it is present, but it's not offensive.

But after that, even all that, I have done a modern building, because I think the situation today in China is a modern situation. Your people do not look back, they have a history, they know about their history, and are proud of it, but they live and look ahead.

So that's what I'm trying to do. The building is a very quiet building, very traditional and very new. There is no building like this. And which is completely modern, for this time.

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