Transformer Factory Theatrical District

Transformer Factory Theatrical District, Atelier Alter Architects for OCT Group

Sited at the West-south of Erhai Lake, at the edge of the ancient citadel of Dali, an abandon transformer factory is transformed into a theatrical park. The original workshop, storage and office are turned into theater, new media art, and mutli-sensual caterings. The main performance venue is the Transformer Theatre that creates a trinity of architecture, interior and stage setting design. The site and the urban regeneration project provides a unique opportunity to redefine the typology of theatre.

Due to site constrains, the Transformer Theatre is constructed through the aggregation of four piecemeal buildings: the assemblage building becomes front stage, the storage becomes back stage, the office turns into gift shop, and the workshop provides theatre services. Theatre typology expanses from a big-box to a “theatrical district,” and the original street between buildings become cross-stage access. Instead of serving only for the elites, theatre also grows through the gaps between life. Lewis Mumford’s idea about city and museum inspires us to think that: the city is a theatre, and the theatre is a city. The transformer factory is a Heterotopia existence within a touristic city.

The industrial language is covert to architecture syntax that defines the interior and exterior space of the performing venue. The collage of industry, vernacular architecture, and arts of virtual reality resurrect the industrial plot and covert it to a “mutated transformer factory” that stages the surreal city with up and down theatrical moments.