December 1, 2014 | Written by: Rose Mary Su

Let’s Not Forget Function

China is developing at a dizzying speed, but in its haste to showcase its progress to the world, some design vision is lost. One place where this is particularly obvious is the country’s program for new performing arts centers.

In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, the government poured generous funding into the construction of the National Grand Theater in Beijing. This venue consisted of three spaces: a large opera house, a major concert hall, and a smaller theater. The theater was designed by Paul Andreu, a French architect known more for his airports than performing arts centers, but he achieved what most Chinese view as progress: a Western-style monumental architecture that is a standout building in modern Beijing.

With more government funding, the rush to build performing arts venues continued to other cities, including smaller ones. Many of these cities do not have an existing facility nor resident artists who would use such a space. The government’s strategy seems to be “build it and they will come.”



Boston / HQ

33 Moulton Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

617 499 8000

Los Angeles Office

601 South Figueroa Street #4050
Los Angeles, CA 90017

213 330 4237

Philadelphia Office

8 Interplex Drive, Suite 218
Trevose, PA 19053

215 245 8244

Charlottesville Office

2150 Wise St #4875
Charlottesville, VA 22905

434 218 0759

NYC Office

250 West Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10013

617 499 8001

Acentech is an employee-owned company, majority-owned by its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).