MK2, City of Image and Sound
Beijing, China
Project 2005

City of Image and Sound is prominently located along Chang’an Avenue in the immediate proximity of the Forbidden City and the Tienanmen Square. The project stems from a partnership between mk2 Group, a French production and distribution company and movie theater owner, and BBMG Group, a Chinese manufacturing and real-estate company. The project is a joint venture between two companies as well as a partnership between two cultures.

The two main elements of this new cultural landmark are a fourteen-theater cinema complex and the new BBMG Headquarters. In addition, the project contains a permanent photo and multimedia exhibition as well as a mixture of retail spaces and restaurants. The idea is to create an exciting synergy of these different programmatic elements, while integrating them closely into the surrounding urban context.
Definition of the cinema is the starting point of the project. The cinema theaters are stacked vertically in three rows reaching the height limitation of thirty meters. This stacked cinema configuration results is in a unique distribution of solids (cinema theaters) and voids (cinema lobbies) facing Chang’an Avenue. The ensuing main elevation becomes thus not only an expression of project’s unique program, but also an important iconic urban landmark along Chang’an Avenue.

One of the main architectural features of the project is a prominent public space in-between the cinema stack and the BBMG Headquarters. This central void space binds together different elements of the project: the cinema, the gallery, the office and the retail spaces. The experience of this thirty-meter-high central space culminates in a large diamond-shape skylight that optimizes the use of daylight. Furthermore, the definition of the ground plane links the central void space to its surrounding urban context of the new cultural district along Chang’an Avenue.

Almost domestic in its scale, the photo and multimedia exhibition element of the project is inserted into the office volume. This pavilion for photography becomes a small house facing the central void space.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2005


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron
Project Architects: Mia Haegg (Associate), Vladimir Pajkic
Project Team: Stephan Achermann, Anna Jach, Sunkoo Kang, Philipp Schaerer, Iva Smrke, Thomas Wyssen

mk2, Paris (Concept Design); BBMG, Beijing (Schematic Design through Construction)

Building Data:
Site Area: 6,300-7,000sqm
Building Footprint: 3,000sqm
Building Dimensions: Length 105m, Width 60m, Height 30m
Gross Floor Area: 45,000-50,0000sqm
Number of Levels: 6

- Cinemas
- Photo and Multimedia Exhibition
- Offices
- Retail and Restaurants
- Parking


Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.): Architecture and Urbanism. Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2006.
Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 08.2006.