Monday, July 24, 2006

Westward And Westward The Course Of Beethoven, Schinkel, And Empire Takes Its Way

National symphony orchestra marks 50th founding anniversary 

BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) -- "China National Symphony Orchestra (CNSO) Saturday held a concert at Beijing Concert Hall, in the center of this national capital, to celebrate its 50th founding anniversary.

Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, was among the 1,000 audience to attend the concert. Leading officials Liu Yunshan and Chen Zhili were also watching.

At the concert, Chinese artists performed Chinese songs and orchestral works, and at the end, the triumphant Beethoven Symphony No.9 -- The Choral.

CNSO was found in 1956 when it was known as Central Symphony Orchestra. In 1996, the orchestra got its present name.

Over the past five decades, CNSO has composed or performed a large number of foreign and Chinese classics and modern works."

Xinhua News Agency "National symphony orchestra [of China] marks 50th founding anniversary" July 23, 2006

New National Grand Theatre of China, in Beijing, 2006. Designed by French Architect Paul Andreu.

Photo: © Hervé Langlais. All rights reserved.

"The National Grand Theatre of China in Beijing by architect Paul Andreu is one of the most talked-about architectural projects for years, both because of Andreu's audacious and innovative design, and for the grand scope of the project itself; the Theatre will be Beijing's foremost cultural center, situated in the heart of the capital, symbolizing all that is exciting about the new China. It will be, in the architect's words: "A new district of spectacles and dreams open to one and all."

Over 6,355 m2 (68,400 ft2) of insulated laminated glass incorporating DuPont™ Butacite® PVB interlayer is used by the architect for a clear curtain wall to the building that aesthetically portrays just that: a grand, invisible curtain, a shimmering mirage that looks as though it has just been parted this instant to reveal the stage inside. The laminated glass was supplied by Northern Glass of Shanghai.

This stunning laminated glass curtain wall, which continues symmetrically over the top of the building to open up at the north and south-facing façades, is enclosed by the remainder of the elliptical titanium façade. Visually, this opaque, titanium covering frames and highlights the clear laminated glass space that it surrounds, a space from whence can be seen, at night, all the light, movement, action and excitement of a busy theatre, music and arts complex from the street outside. By day, the clear, laminated glass façade soars upwards to form a grand skylight to the upper dome of the building, flooding the interior of the Grand Theatre's atrium lobbies with natural daylight.

The Theatre, due to be completed in early 2006, is situated on Chang'An Avenue, next to the Great Hall of the People and about 500 m (1,640 ft) from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It is a curved building with a total surface area of about 149,500 m2 (1,609,205 ft2) that emerges like an island at the center of a lake. The titan-ium shell is in the shape of a super ellipsoid with a maximum span of 213 m (700 ft), a minimum span of 144 m (472 ft) and a height of 46 m (151 ft). The building houses three performance auditoria - a 2,416-seat opera house; a 2,017-seat concert hall and a 1,040-seat theatre - as well as art and exhibition spaces open to a wide public and integrated into the life of the city.

Architect Paul Andreu said: "The National Grand Theatre of China is divided into two by a curved, laminated glass covering, which is 100 m (328 ft) wide at the bases of the north façade and the south façade. During the day, light flows through the glass roof into the building. At night, the movements within can be seen from the outside.

"The building is connected to the shore by way of a 60-metre (197 ft) -long, transparent underpass. This entrance leaves the exterior of the building intact, without any openings, and remains mysterious-looking, while providing the public with a passage from their daily work to the world of opera, fiction and dreams.

"A viewing lounge on the highest level of the building, under the laminated glass skylight roof, affords the general public and theatre-goers alike with a 360-degree view of Beijing that varies with the light according to the time of the day. From the laminated glass window/façades of this viewing lounge, the city can be rediscovered from a hitherto-unseen perspective." ...

Text and photo credit: Laminated Glass News. © 2006 E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. With thanks.


Karl Friedrich Schinkel

(b. Neuruppin, Prussia 1781; d. Berlin, Germany 1841)

"Karl Schinkel was born in Neuruppin, Prussia in 1781. He studied under Friedrich Gilley at the Bauakademie in Berlin. Between 1803 and 1805, he travelled through Italy and France. He returned to a French controlled Prussia where he worked as a painter and stage designer.

After the French were driven out of Prussia, Schinkel was appointed Surveyor to the Prussian Building Commission. As surveyor he redesigned the city with a series of buildings that expressed Prussia's cultural ambitions and national pride.

General disenchantment with France turned most Prussian architects against the classical Roman manner favoured by the Ecole des Beaux Arts. This national rejection led Schinkel to design in a Neo-Greek style that symbolically recalled the political and moral freedom of Athenian Greece.

Although he preferred classic architecture, Schinkel created designs in both Classic and Gothic manners. His drawings suggest a continuous analysis between Neoclassical Prussia and Periclean Athens.

Schinkel died in Berlin, Germany in 1841."

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p137.



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