The next iconic building in our Building Blocks series may not be very tall but is instantly recognisable, The National Theatre of China in Beijing.
It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and opened in December 2007. The theatre has an unusual shape and stunning appearance. It is an egg-shaped dome construction of steel covered with over 18,000 titanium plates and over 1,000 sheets of ultra-white glass.
Another window cleaning challenge!
The theatre stands on an artificial lake which 2.678 million visitors to date have entered through a 60m long transparent walkway actually under the lake. As this is the only entrance, the exterior of the dome is smooth and unbroken. Weighing in at 6,457 tons and over 212m long, this amazing steel and glass oval shell is the largest dome in the world.
There are three venues within the dome, namely the Opera House, the Concert Hall and the Theatre. These are all interconnected with passages and entrances built underwater. On the top floor is a lounge with great views of the surrounding green space and the city all around.
The theatre was designed to be accessible to all the people. To that end although the costs of building the theatre went well over budget, 70% of the tickets are sold at a low price so everybody can attend the performances.