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MAD Architects' proposal for the Yiwu Grand Theater will be built on the Dongyang River

MAD beat out four other proposals for the opportunity to design the theater.

July 01, 2019 |

All renderings courtesy MAD

The Yiwu Grand Theater in China’s Zhejiang province is designed to look like a boat floating on the river, reminiscent of Chinese junks that used to transport goods across the waters.

Layered glass “sails” provide transparency and lightness while also acting as a protective canopy around the building. The Yiwu Grand Theater will encompass a 1,600-seat grand theater, a 1,200-seat medium theater, and an international conference center with a capacity of 2,000 people.


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The theater uses a passive solar design. The semi-transparent glass curtain wall was developed as a shading system and also as a way to optimize the use of natural light within the indoor public spaces. This forms a solar greenhouse effect in the winter while in the summer it serves as a ventilation system to enhance airflow circulation inside and outside of the building.


Yiwu Grand Theater at night


Vehicular transportation will be able to enter from the south shore while a series of tree-lined foot bridges from the north allow people to walk along the water and enjoy views of the theater and the surrounding city. An open plaza and an amphitheater extend into the water on the southern edge and landscaped terraces provide elevated views of the surroundings.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020.


Yiwu grand theater at dusk


Yiwu interior lobby space


Yiwu's grand theater space


Yiwu Grand theater outdoor space

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