Weihai, Shandong Province, China
In its previous life, the Stone Nest Amphitheatre was a small-sized stone pit located in the Wujiatuan Village in the city of Weihai, Shandong Province, China, given a name by the locals as “Shi Wozi” (Stone Nest), which has been abandoned for years.
Stone Nest Amphitheatre for Community Activitieswas recently awarded with a 2020 International Architecture Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
The architects have been especially impressed by the exposed jagged precipice and steep cliff, which renders the presence of some kind of artificial nature with its old traces of quarrying.
The new building will include an open-air amphitheater to provide community services for the surrounding villages, such as public gatherings, cultural and leisure activities, to solve the long-term lack of public community space in the area.
At the same time, music festivals, drama festivals, and other activities can also be held in the new building, bringing vitality, economic income, and public exchanges to the local area.
The project covers an area of about 1,500 sqm.
The architects hope to deal with the site, the form of the building, and the relationship between them in a light manner.
The original cliff in the venue is completely preserved without any treatment and becomes the background stone wall of the theater.
Because of its arc form, the stone wall has an excellent acoustic effect, which is not only the stage background but also the performer itself.
The grandstand is set around the stone wall, gradually raised from the stage ground level, forming a gathering field.
The shape of the stage and stand is set according to the original terrain and does not pursue symmetry; the steps of the stand are designed to be free fold line state, further strengthening the landscape of the site.
A new architectural volume has been hidden under the grandstand.
In terms of function, it includes storage, public toilet, and cafe, which can provide logistics and public supporting services for the theater.
The facade of the building is composed of a series of French window openings.
The wall thickness between the windows is intentionally strengthened, through which the architects hope to give a sense of cave and respond to the history of the original quarry on the site.
There are steps and ramps on both sides of the building for people to enter and exit the stage area.
The building materials are made of local traditional stone-laying construction techniques, and most of the stones come from the rubbles excavated when the site was leveled.
The architects adhere to the concept of sustainable construction: all materials are from the local area, and traditional technology is adopted for the facade, as the sustainability of culture.
The interior area of the building is about 280 sqm. The sloping roof and irregular skylights indicate the relationship between the building and the stand and strengthen the dramaticism of the interior. Cave, mine, and industrial sense are the basic intentions of interior design.
After the building was put into use, several country music festivals have been held there and received a positive response from the local residents and villagers.
Project: Stone Nest Amphitheatre for Community Activities
Architects: 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio
Client: People’s Government of Songshan Residential District
General Contractor: Weihai Leisheng Construction
Photographer: Jin Weiqi