The People's Hall
Sitting above People's (Renmin) Square is the People's Hall, one of Chongqings more unusual buildings.
The People's Hall complex is bigger than it looks, as it is half as big again as the massive square. It was built between 1951 and 1954, at a time when Deng Xiaoping was very influential in the city. It is suggested that the structure was 'his baby'. At the time, Chongqing was very dear to the hearts of the Communist Party, and there was a real desire to lift this Sichuan backwater to a higher position among the pecking order of Chinese cities. The People's Hall was to be the symbol of the war-ravaged, heavily-bombed city.
It is modelled on Beijing's Temple of Heaven, and from the outside, the green glazed roof, circular structure and red pillars are impressive. Inside the architectural techniques for holding the roof up are a bit more prosaic, with acres of steelwork and trusses.
The hall can hold more than 5,000 people, and the acoustics are reputed to be superb. As always it is suggested that someone whispering on the stage can be heard at the back. Perhaps....
This building, for me, symbolises what 'could have been' for China from the early 1950s, a bright new spirit of reconstruction and movement forward. Alas, it was not to be.
Today, the People's Hall gets regularly used for concerts, ballet and ceremonies: it would be good to be able to enjoy it to musical accompaniment, but you can get in for a small fee on any day.