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French architect and China's National Grand Theater
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On September 25, the first trial show for the newly completed National Grand Theater was unveiled in Beijing, the People’s Daily reported.


French architect Paul Andreu was the theater’s designer. In April 1998, he took part in the bidding process for the architectural design of the Chinese theater. In the 16-month-long bidding process, his egg shell proposal passed through two rounds of competitions and was finally chosen among 69 candidates as the final designing scheme for the massive building in July 1999.


Now eight years have passed and the senior architect sees that his blueprint has finally become a reality.


On the day when the National Grand Theater had its debut show, this reporter interviewed Paul Andreu in a café inside the newly built building. The café was not even in service yet.


The great architect compared his designing product to one of his kids, saying that all the hardships he once experienced were paid off for such a great work. In his eyes, the big semi-ball, which forms the outer shape of the theater, is just like a seed that carries life.


“The design of the National Grand Theater carries a meaning that it is a building full of vigor internally. It might look quiet from the outside. However, it is lively from within. Simple as it may look, the egg shell carries life, which reflects the core ideas of my design for the theater – shell, life, and open-mindedness,” Paul Andreu said.


To him, the National Grand Theater is a public building open to all citizens. It not only opens to the audience, but also opens ordinary Chinese citizens.


Eight years is “a very long period. Many times, I nearly collapsed. But now, when I recall those times, what I can remember is only joy and happiness,” he said.


Before the National Grand Theater, Paul Andreu had taken on the designing work for many other public buildings in China. This includes the Guangzhou New Stadium, Sanya Airport, and Pudong Airport.


China needs the world and the world also needs China. The National Grand Theater is a witness to China’s pursuit for national prosperity. With its construction and use, it will become a symbol for the city’s civilization level and a symbol for Chinese culture,” said the great architect, who felt lucky enough to have witnessed this process.


(Chinanews September 28, 2007)

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