------Program code: DO-081215-04824 (what's this?)

Source: CCTV.com

12-15-2008 12:26

Watch Video: Part 1 >>

This presented difficulties for the architects. The Great Hall of the People was designed in the 1950s in a typical Soviet style.

With today’s architectural concept and approaches, the National Center for the Performing Arts right next door could easily usurp the role of the Great Hall of the People in terms of exterior design.

As a result, the biggest problem for all the architects bidding for the project was how to come up with a design that would carry the essence of modern architecture without lessening the brilliance of the Great Hall of the People.

Among the 44 proposals was a design by Andreu, but as yet it was not in the shape of a huge ellipsoid. At that time his design was also rectangular, so rectangular that his colleagues nicknamed it the “barbecue stove”.

For centuries, opera houses had been designed to be rectangular in order to acquire the best acoustics within, as the rectangle is the best shape for the transmission of sound.

Even the Sydney Opera House, shaped like sails on the outside, has a rectangular interior. But the Owners Committee of the National Center for the Performing Arts did not like Andreu’s first design.

Because of the setbacks during the bidding, many architects lost confidence in the future of this project. A group of architects headed by an eminent Canadian architect announced their withdrawal from the competition.

How to make a new building accord with a pre-existing architectural complex has always been a major issue in the world of architecture. However, this is by no means an unsolvable problem.

Even though the Centre National d’art et Culture Georges Pompidou located by the beautiful Seine is less than 1000 meters away from the famous Notra Dame de Paris and its steel-structured exterior contradicts the architectural style of all the buildings around it, it is now considered a masterpiece that represents the artistic spirit of Paris.

Another example can also be seen in Paris: the mysterious crystal pyramid located on the square in front of the Louvre also forms a dramatic contrast between the old and the modern. However, would it be possible to come up with a perfect design for China’s National Center for the Performing Arts?

Andreu also chose to retreat from the bidding, but only temporarily. He decided to go back to Paris and continue working, but with a change in design. In his work as an architect, Andreu had never been someone to accept failure easily.

In 1967, the 29-year-old had participated in a landmark reconstruction project in Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport. At the time, the aviation industry in Europe was developing rapidly, and more and more people were relying on airplanes for long distance travel, but the design of the original Charles de Gaulle Airport was far from perfect.

Many people trying to find their way about inside the airport got lost, as the layout of the routes inside was too complicated. The biggest problem in need of solving was how to help passengers get to their boarding gates quickly and smoothly.

As all the proposals put forward were rejected one after another, Andreu - a young man who had not yet even acquired his diploma in architecture - came up with up a truly daring proposal.

He came up with a design featuring direct boarding routes using escalators in order to help passengers arrive at the boarding gates directly without being bothered by various boarding instructions. His solution shocked the architecture world of the time, but over the years that followed his concept was applied to many large public buildings, and for this reason Andreu came to be considered “the master of futuristic architecture”.

With all the proposals for the National Center for the Performing Arts having been rejected - much the same situation as had occurred 30 years before with the Charles de Gaulle Airport project - Andreu decided he should work on finding the perfect solution despite the extreme contradictions.

A week after his return to Paris, Andreu threw out his rectangular design and began working on a new exterior design. His new design for the National Center for the Performing Arts was a titanium-and-glass dome surrounded by a man-made lake; inside the building there would be a 2500-seat opera house, a 2000-seat concert hall and a with 1200-seat theater.