Great Hall of the People
Construction of the Great Hall of the People started in October 1958 and was completed by the end of August 1959, taking ten months altogether.
It has a total floor space of 171, 800 square metres, 20,000 square metres more than that of the Forbidden City in the neighbourhood. It is 206 metres long and 336 metres wide. Its highest point is 46.5 metres from the ground.
It consists of three major sections: in the north is the Banquet Hall that accommodates 5,000 people; in the centre is the Grand Auditorium with a seating capacity of 10,000; offices of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress are in the south. There are more than 300 reception rooms and conference halls of various sizes. Thirty-four reception rooms, are furnished band named after various provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, and special administrative regions. Each room is featured by its own local style.
The central foyer is for the people attending meetings to take a rest during intervals. The floor is paved with natural marble and the 20 pillars are made of white marble. Each crystal glass chandelier weighs 1.2 tons.
Ten thousand-seat Auditorium万人礼堂
The auditorium is used for important occasions such as sessions National People’s Congress, the Party Congress and mass political rallies to support the just struggle of the people of other countries. The massive 76 metres in width, 60 metres in length and 32 metres in height, with a balcony and a gallery. There are 3, 600 seats on the ground floor, 3, 500 on the balcony and 2, 500 on the gallery. The stage can hold a presidium of 300 to 500 people. The total seating capacity Is ten thousand. It is also used for festive celebrations and grand stage shows. The proscenium can be converted into an orchestra pit by removing the floor boards.
The seats on the ground floor are equipped with earphones, through which one can hear a simultaneous translation of a speech in any one of 12 different languages. Every two seats share a loudspeaker and every four seats a micro-phone for extemporaneous speeches. On the ceiling are 500 starlights with an enormous red star in the center. Seventy light beams radiate in all directions enclosed by a ring of 40 sunflower petals, which in turn is skirted by three layers of hidden lights in the form of expanding waves. This beautiful pattern symbolizes the close unity of the people of the whole country around the Party in their forward march from victory to victory. The ones that have no light are ventilation holes.
The auditorium has three main features: people can evacuate rapidly through its 32 doors; the fan shape hall provides a good view of the presidium from any angle; the acoustics is very good. Built in lighting equipment for filming documentaries is set in a crescent shape facing the stage.
The Great Hall of the people on the balcony
The balcony is for non-voting deputies and overseas envoys. A loudspeaker is installed at the back of each seat on the balcony and the gallery. Simultaneous translation in different languages is provided for by block allocation of seats. The volume control is installed on the left arm of the seat.