Its huge dome of titanium and glass rests in the middle of a shallow pond. The rectangular shape of the reservoir and oval - the buildings should, according to the plan of the architect Paul Andre, remind of the ancient Chinese cosmological symbol of the Earth and Heaven: a circle inscribed in a square. Despite the references to tradition, the project of the theater from the very beginning was the object of harsh criticism from Chinese architects, and was generally not liked by the public. The architects were outraged by the emphatically modern shape of the building next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and its budget (which eventually reached the figure of 400 million dollars - astronomical for China, given the low cost of both labor and materials there). From the moment the preliminary draft of the theater was published, ordinary Beijing residents immediately began to compare it with a huge duck egg, which causes rather negative associations in Chinese culture (as opposed to the bird's nest - the Herzog & de Meuron Olympic Stadium and the dragon - the new Beijing Norman Foster Airport) …
Problems also arose after the collapse in 2004 of the floors of the terminal at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, designed by André: the construction of the theater was suspended, but then it continued.
Special objections from the point of view of safety were caused by a glazed underground corridor 75 m long under an artificial lake around the theater. Through this passage, spectators enter the building, and it was he who seemed the most vulnerable element of the project in the event of a terrorist attack or design error. The corridor leads to a huge lobby connecting three theater halls: an opera hall with 2,416 seats, a concert hall with 2017 seats, and a drama hall for 1040 spectators. The huge dome is paneled from the inside with Brazilian mahogany panels, and the floor is paved with slabs of white, yellow and gray marble quarried in 22 Chinese provinces. The walls of the concert hall are designed in shades of white, and its ceiling is covered with wooden acoustic panels, reminiscent of abstract sculptures in their wave-like shapes. The smallest of the three, the theater hall is completely lined from the inside with silk: stripes of red, purple and orange.
The Beijing authorities call the People's Bolshoi Theater the largest in the world: it can accommodate a total of about 6,500 spectators, its building reaches 212 meters in length, 143 meters in width, and 46 meters in height. 22,000 metal panels, excluding the glass part, cover the outer surface of the building with an area of 100,000 sq. m. Its usable area is 150,000 square meters. m.
After the pre-opening of the theater in October 2007, when several performances were held for party leaders and production leaders, criticism of the building subsided somewhat. But even after the official start of the first season, important problems remain unresolved for the administration of the huge complex, the main of which are the lack of a coherent program of performances (it is not completely clear what the “cultural mission” of the new theater is), as well as the problem of cleaning the facades. Shiny titanium and glass panels need to be constantly cleaned of burning and dust in the thick of Beijing smog, and given the size of the building, doing this regularly will be, if not impossible, then incredibly expensive.