trace architecture office's aranya amphitheater overlooks coastline of china

Nov 04, 2021

trace architecture office (TAO) introduces its aranya theater complex along an irregular-shaped site at aranya, a seaside resort in hebei, china. the site is surrounded by residential buildings on three sides, and overlooks the sea across the dunes. with this in mind, the team sought to maintain a relationship between its theater and the sea, streets, and urban context, while shaping an inviting, new public space for the town.

the building consists of three theaters: the fengchao theater, A theater, and dionysus theater, each of which occupies a corner of the site. the two rectangular buildings — the fengchao theater and A theater — are connected by the lobby in the middle, extending into the urban fabric. the outdoor stone dionysus amphitheater is located at the corner, connecting the streets on both sides and bringing the urban space inside. by breaking up an excessively large volume into three smaller units, the work integrates harmoniously into the urban context.

each of trace architecture office (TAO)‘s three theaters in aranya is designed with a specific function. the complex provides multi-functional places suitable for different forms of performance for the community, and aims to create a diverse and vibrant community for all. the 300-seat fengchao theater is used for drama performances, with professional equipment and an optimized acoustic environment.

the 550-seat A theater is a large and solemn space that provides better experiences for its audience. the space can meet the needs of a range of functions from theatrical performances, to concerts, exhibitions, performance shows, auto shows, and the like.

facing the sea, the dionysus theater functions as an outdoor performance space. while not being used for performances, it serves as a city square on the corner of the street. with the functions of performance, gathering, relaxation, and sea viewing, the dionysus theater is the new social center of the town. meanwhile, it provides performers with a flexible space for different stage sets and positions.

the team notes that the essence of theater architecture is to deal with the relationship between audience and performers. unlike the traditional theater which is an enclosed space, the initial concept was to open up the theater where the stage takes the sea and the city as background. the stage set is juxtaposed with the real scene of city life, creating a unique seaside theater. thus, a wide door opens up the rear of the stage in the fengchao theater, allowing actors to enter the stage from the street. the city becomes an extension of the stage, creating an immersive experience.

image © zaiye studio

image © schran images

project info:

project title: aranya theatre

architecture: trace architecture office (TAO) | @taoarchitects

location: qinhuangdao, hebei, china client: qinhuangdao aranya real estate development co. principal architect: hua li design team: hua li, dai linyi, wang langhuan, chou chia ying, cheng xiangju, gao xiaocen, shi xin’an structural consultant: cabr technology co. MEP consultant: kcalin design group lighting consultant: z design and planning theater consultant: JH theatre architecture design consulting company construction team: jiangsu jiangdu construction group co., ltd. curtain wall construction team: qinghuangdao qinbo curtain wall decoration engineering co. structural system: in-situ concrete structure, steel structure completion: 2020 photography: su shengliang, zaiye studio