This performing arts centre by Studio Zhu-Pei,spreads its sculptural roof over the facility below – echoing the local mountain range that hangs over the landscape

Designed by Studio Zhu-Pei,

From the design studio:

Situated between the Cang mountain chain, rising 4000m in height, and 40ks-long Lake Erhai, the city of Dali was a significant stop on the ancient tea and horse road, and is now an important tourism destination. 

The old town has largely been preserved and still has some remains of the historic city wall and gate towers.

Inspired by the powerful surrounding landscape, Zhu Pei searched for landscape-related references to solve the architectonic challenges for the Performing Arts Center. 

A widely cantilevered rectangular roof spans across a built landscape of free-flowing indoor and outdoor spaces, some of which can be combined as an interacting spatial system. 

As with mountains and valleys, the strong shape of the roof reflects the more organic landscape below and points to the old Chinese principle ofyin and yang, where two opposites combine together to form a whole. 

Formally expressed as organic-shaped hills, the partly sunken spaces transform into a natural garden landscape, promising a high experiential quality that extends inside to the public theatre.


Theatre; amphitheater; rehearsal hall / multi-functions hall; café/tea/restaurant; design shop; office; loading and back of house function.

Credit list

Yangliping Performing Arts Center, Dali, China
Project team
Design principal – Zhu Pei; lead designers – Edwin Lam, Shuhei Nakamura; project in charge – Virginia Melnyk; design team – You Changchen, Han Mo and He Fan, Liu Ling; Wu Zhigang, Gary Poon and Ke Jun; Wang Peng, Wang Zheng, and Ding Xinyue; Feng Chaoying, Chen Yida, and Han Yi; Lin Wendi and Du Yao
Professor Fu Xueyi – National Engineering Survey and Design
Shenzhen Dadi Facade Technology
China IPPR International Engineering
Architecture, Interior and Landscape Design
Theatre consultant
Ducks Scéno – creative solution integration
Ning Field Lighting Design
The Third Construction

Designed by: Studio Zhu-Pei

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Jin Weiqi, Zhang Yao

26 Jun, 2022

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