Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen – not to mention Hong Kong – are on track to become China’s “world cities”. With its ecstatic industrial, economic, and population growth, Chongqing will join this list. While central metropolis may play Chicago to Shanghai’s New York, development blueprints for the next decade convey Manhattan but with skyscrapers, far taller and more numerous.
For 2010, Chongqing gets an opera house more distinctive than Lincoln Center and as iconic as Sydney’s. Meinhard von Gerkan, co-founder of German architectural firm GMP (Von Gerkan, Marg und Partner), has created a structure that matches the aspirations of its gigantic home town and the specialness of a romantic night at the opera. The shape of the Chongqing Grand Theatre was inspired by a ship and seems in motion, almost sailing along the Yangzi River right below.
The Chongqing Grand Theatre is perhaps less democratic than the city will be. Only a few of Chongqing’s teeming millions crave or can afford a night of Rigoletto or even the Peony Pavilion. Even non-opera buffs will flock to the Grand Theatre both to witness the architectural marvel and for a panoramic view across the Yangzi and Jialing rivers, to the rising Jiangbeicheng business district, a cityscape that will increasingly appear straight off the pages of a utopian science fiction novel.