The National Centre for the Performing Arts and colloquially described as The Giant Egg, is an arts centre containing an opera house in Beijing, People’s Republic of China. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.
The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake.
The opera house is at the center. It is the single most important element in the project, and by the art that is practiced there, it is the one that is most dependent on convention; most mysterious too. The concert hall and the theatre are situated on either side of the opera house. Access to the performance halls must never be brutal. It has to be something gradual, something that requires time and space.
The performance halls and public areas are built on a base that houses all operating and support facilities in a complex designed to be as efficiently and economically organized as an industrial production area.
- 52 elevators and 36 escalators serve the interior of the theater.
- A 60 meter long transparent underwater passage links the main entrance with the reception lobby.
- in the event of an emergency, the audience can escape within six minutes.