Theatre designs pour in
Mark O'Neill in Beijing
The Government will next month unveil the design for its three billion yuan (HK$2.8 billion) National Theatre, chosen from more than 40 entries from Chinese and foreign architects.
The theatre, to the west of the Great Hall of the People, will be built on 120,000 square metres and have four main sections - a 2,700-seat opera house, a 2,000-seat music hall, a 1,200-seat theatre and a smaller one with 300 to 500 seats for modern plays.
Work is due to begin late this year and be completed by 2001.
The deadline for design submissions is July 13, the Beijing Economic News said yesterday. The designs will be displayed at the Museum of Chinese Revolutionary History from July 19 to 26 and the public will be invited to submit comments.
The project, one of the most prestigious in China, has attracted designs from architects in Japan, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Austria, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
Former premier Zhou Enlai first proposed a national theatre on the site in 1959 but it was delayed by the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and lack of money.
Then there was a dispute between proponents of a theatre and the National People's Congress which wanted to erect its office building on the site.