The opera art is the bright pearl and priceless treasure of the Chinese nation and it is the most popular and representative traditional art. Wanping Theater is an important measure to revive Shanghai's opera art, promote literary and artistic creation and cultural construction, and it is one of the major cultural facilities projects in Shanghai during the "13th Five-Year Plan" period. Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd. won the international design competition at the end of 2016 and undertook the general contracting design work of the project. At present, the project has been completed and accepted and it was officially unveiled for operation on May 31, 2021.
Wanping Theater has an advantaged location, which is 1.5 kilometers away from Xujiahui in the north and less than 1.2 kilometers away from Xuhui Riverside in the south. It is adjacent to Dong'an Park and overlooks the Riverside shoreline with convenient transportation. It forms a traditional opera art area together with the surrounding Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre, Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe, Shanghai Opera Theatre, Yue Opera Theatre, etc.
The new theater is reconstructed on the original site built in 1988, with a total floor area of 29,000 square meters. Inspired by the design of traditional Chinese folding fans, it integrates the culminations of traditional opera theaters, including a 996-seat grand theater, a 262-seat small theater, a multi-functional performance hall that can accommodate 209 seats, a 40-seat audio-visual experience center, a professional rehearsal hall and other cultural spaces.
As an important prop of traditional opera, the elements of Chinese folding fans are used in the design. Combining the delicate and elegant features of folding fans with traditional opera theaters, it brings a gentle cultural breeze to the city. The glass fan at the corner of the main entrance is transparent and natural, projecting the activities in the hall, like a three-dimensional Chinese fan painting and calligraphy, tactful and agile, with a profound artistic conception.
Drawing the inspiration from traditional Chinese courtyards and introducing traditional gardening techniques, a number of performance halls of different scales and forms are stacked in the space to provide a complex space with stages and layers of performances everywhere, presenting "the garden of traditional opera" with different views at every step and a three-dimensional garden scene.
Wanping Theatre is designed to meet the design standards of contemporary world-class theatres, and to create a tailor-made space for traditional opera. Following the development trend of traditional opera concepts and audience aesthetic, the stage structure, while drawing lessons from the stage production of foreign operas and musicals, adopts a more flexible form to consider the needs of the smaller-sized set props in traditional operas, and to explore the space to accommodate both traditional operas and newly adapted operas.
The design draws on the acoustics experience of Western concert halls and opera halls, and takes the sound field design into consideration in the bidding stage, respecting the acoustic charm of traditional opera. The theater is no longer a simple performance place. It has become an international opera theater with multiple functions, including exhibition, inheritance and experience, education popularization and cultural exchange.
While benchmarking against world-class performances, it is necessary to focus on the traditional opera watching and performing. In order to realize the traditional space charm of the theater stage and show the unique charm of the traditional opera with the performing details of "the role", the auditorium of the grand theater adopts a horseshoe-shaped enclosure and fan-shaped arrangement form. The straight-line distance from the last row of the auditorium to the proscenium is 22 meters and the audience in the last row can also clearly see every gestures and even expressions of the actors, feeling the beauty of the traditional opera singing, speaking, making, playing and dancing.
The "fan-shape", a strong traditional symbolic element, is not only a highly recognizable symbol, but more of a functional form. The site is like a folding fan, and it is enclosed by the building to the greatest extent, forming an inward-gathering spatial pattern, creating the scene of "quietness in the middle of chaos" which is in line with the traditional Chinese aesthetics. Walking in the theater, the fan-shaped elements can be found everywhere, the ceiling, walls, seat armrests, door handles, and they all subtly highlight the modern and fashionable sense of opera elements.
The lobby on the first floor displays the knowledge of opera, popularization of opera genres, etc. The public spaces on the second and third floors are planned to create art installations and immersive experience areas with sound, film, beauty, painting, etc., aiming to explore the beauty and skills of opera in all dimensions, and attract more young people and intellectuals to participate and experience.
The wall of the Grand Theatre still incorporates the concept of "folding fan", the sound-reflecting boards are the fan surfaces, and the sound-absorbing boards become the "fan bones" that supports the "fan surfaces". The proscenium of the Grand Theater is 16 meters wide, 10 meters high, and 20 meters deep. The side platforms are 8-10 meters wide and 20 meters deep. There are 65 sets of fully electronically controlled programmable lifting booms, a fully grid-controlled lighting system and an all-fiber signal transmission sound reinforcement system. The lift stage is divided into multi-part stages, which are 25 square-grid lift tables, and the turntable is distributed in the form of checkerboard. The divided stage is more flexible and can fluctuate like waves, which can greatly meet the production requirements of the newly adapted operas.
"The opera of small theater" has become a new direction for the development of traditional opera in recent years. The small theater is located on the b1-b2 floors, and the audience and the stage in the theater are closely connected in one space that is in line with the small theater creative characteristics. The small theater makes use of its small, deep, refined and broad artistic characteristics to become an experimental and pioneering traditional opera performance space.
The multi-functional performance hall of the 209-seat "Play and Gathering Space" uses dimmable curved glasses on the inside wall, presenting golden lines like the fan ribs and it is like a glittering glass box exuding a delicate charm.
The theater of the new era is no longer a cultural facility exclusively for art practitioners and tourists. The design is committed to connecting the building with the public space of the city, and strives to integrate art into the community and build an opera paradise without barrier walls.
Through the gaps between the surrounding residential buildings, the light golden building is looming, and it is integrated with the surrounding buildings, standing quietly and gloriously in the corner of the community. Under the influence of the new theater, the adjacent Dong'an Park and the theater are integrated. In the park's Chinese-style aesthetic space, the immersive experience of the repertoire with the "gene" of classical gardens.
The facade expresses the rhythm and beauty of the folding fan in an architectural language. Modern materials such as GRC shape the fold-filled building surface. The right-angle shape of the folding fan is further translated into a softer and more curved concrete exterior wall in the actual construction. The directions of the "folding fans" are adjusted to continuously divide the building facade and the public platforms of each floor are exposed to the city streets in the gap.
In order to perfectly present the curved and folded "folding fan" shape, the whole building adopts digital design, non-standardized molds and components are processed by CNC machine tools, and the construction process is positioned through three-dimensional space. A total of 312 pieces of GRC and 234 pieces of formwork with different shapes were used for the exterior walls, and 2,300 pieces of GRG and 1,200 pieces of formwork with different shapes were used for the interior.
Wanping Theater is the first all-steel structure theater in Shanghai, which adopts a steel frame + roof truss structure system and uses viscous damping walls as energy dissipation components. The viscous damping wall is composed of inner and outer steel plates and highly viscous materials. It is installed on the wall of the building, which has good energy dissipation and shock absorption effect, and conforms to the steel structure characteristics of the project.
In the case of complex and changeable space and structure, there are a large number of components such as variable sections or inclined plates, the application of BIM in theater projects is very necessary. Electromechanical pipelines, stage machinery and equipment, decorative ceilings, etc. are all concentrated on the top of the theater stage and the side horse lanes. BIM technology is used to assist electromechanical deepening design, collision detection, clear height analysis, and pipeline adjustment to effectively optimize space and better realize the design.
Traditional opera is old, yet young. Unconsciously, the new Wanping Theater has been in operation for more than a year, radiating the vitality of the new era. Various traditional operas are staged here, and people from all over the world, old and young, can feel the charm of traditional operas here. The "Fan of Shanghai" has been handed over to the traditional opera, bringing a cool and gentle pear orchard wind to the public, and adding a fresh and elegant scenery to Shanghai's cultural construction.
舞台机械顾问：Tom Lamming，Nick Broad,Mark Stroomer，Richard Borkum，Theo Farringdon，徐舒韵