• Yulin Grand Theater mirrors an ancient landscape

    30 May 2023

    Inspired by landscapes surrounding the historic city of Yulin, the Yulin Grand Theater aims to be a metaphoric cultural valley, connecting the city to its glorious past. 

    Yulin Grand Theater, focal point of Yulin City, Shanxi Province, China, is a 1,200-seat, 41,500-square meter cultural destination which includes a performance convention center.

    The design of the theater is inspired by the strength of the landscape and historic district within the city, creating a metaphoric cultural valley, connecting the city to its glorious past. The theater is surrounded by a vibrant mixed community, and green open space.

    The building, with its meandering rock-solid appearance, with strong horizontal lines inspired by the natural topography of North-west China, a cascading sequence of texture is a reference to the surrounding terraced fields. As the water flows through the mountain and the valley, life flows through the internal and external parts of the theater in a seamless way, and everything, from how people move inside the building to where each component is placed, is organized around the goal of revealing the creativity within, with intervening spaces and masses that resemble the erosion-carved pillars of a million-year-old Shaanxi valley shaped by wind and water.


    The overall façade design adopts energy-saving strategies, including major attention to natural ventilation and lighting, so that internal and external spaces can be integrated, and the building can have a dialogue with nature. Integration between interior and exteriors has been of primary importance for both functional and aesthetic reasons – a balance between indoor and outdoor spaces is fundamental considering the region’s weather.

    A landscaped sunken plaza connects the theater and the retail center and represents a place for gathering and community. Envisioned as an anchor for Yulin, The Cultural Art Center is one of the most important facilities in the city and it represents a hybrid hub that consistently integrates art, culture and lifestyle, and truly connects to the soul of the city.

    Guided by determined optimism, Gensler believes the power of design can spark positive change and create a future that promotes equity, resilience, and wellbeing for everyone. www.gensler.com

    Information and images: Gensler


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