The Academy was established in the 1950s and is one of the top drama schools in China and is looking to expand within the confines of their central Beijing site. Its location in the Dongcheng district, just a few hundred metres East of the forbidden city, is a tight, low rise neighbourhood of hutongs and narrow streets and passages.


The proposal is to use the land immediately to the rear of the existing site, used as storage and parking, to house the 600 seat theatre extension, exhibition space, restaurant and practice rooms as well as car parking for both the existing and proposed schemes. 


With such a low rise site, yet such a shortage of space, a significant proportion of the proposal is buried. Dropping the auditorium allows for the creation of a new public space upon an inhabited roofscape, opening up a rare opportunity for a spacious terrace within the hutong and allows just the stage fly tower , a timber clad filigree screen, to announce itself. A small cafe and viewing gallery on the top of the fly tower allow vistas across the adjacent forbidden city.