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SEU Landscape | The Grand Auditorium


SEU highlights a history of 118 years and the architectures in SEU also tell the profound history. The Grand Auditorium, Meian, the Gymnasium and Zhongda Building, etc. all carry the memories of SEUers from generation to generation. We will introduce these architectures in SEU in the series of SEU Landscapeone by one. Please prepare yourself for a visual and cultural feast!

History of The Grand Auditorium 

March 28, 1930

The Grand Auditorium broke ground with the funding from National Central Universitys first President Zhang Naiyan. However, due to shortage of financial support afterwards, its construction was temporarily suspended.


During 1930 to 1931

Thanks to President Zhu Jiahua, who applied for the funding, and Professor Lu Yujun, who oversaw the construction, the construction of the Grand Auditorium was finally accomplished in July, 1931.


Designed by Palmer & Turner Group, the Grand Auditorium is one of the landmarks of SEU. Its roof created a wonder in architecture. The octagonal steel-structured roof of 34 meters span set the record in China at that time. Moreover, it has no pillar in the middle, which was the most sophisticated technology in the field of architecture in China at that time.Zhou Qi said, Professor from School of Architecture, SEU.




The History that  the Grand Auditorium has witnessed 


On May 5, 1931, the 1st National Party Congress was convened in the Grand Auditorium.


In July 1931, the Republic of China's first higher examination was held, and the Grand Auditorium served as one of the examination locations, as described in Central Daily News, it was divided into two parts and located in the National Central University, one in the Grand Auditorium and the other in the Gymnasium. At the entrance to the exam venue, a colorful archway marked with the Chinese characters Make full use of one's talentswas set up. The first day of the examination was arranged specifically for general administrative staff with more than 1,300 applicants involved.  



2010 & 2012

The world-renowned architect Alvaro Siza once visited SEU and gave a speech in the Grand Auditorium, which was a rare chance and there was no empty seat left. A graduate student from School of Architecture said: I heartily felt the sacredness of the Grand Auditorium. It is the temple of academy.


During the 118th anniversary celebration of SEU, Wang Shu, the first Chinese winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and also a former SEUer, also delivered a speech at the Grand Auditorium. Even the corridor was full of people who rushed there for an academic feast.



The notability of  the Grand Auditorium


·The "People's Procuratorate of Handong Province" from the popular TV serious In the Name of the People was actually filmed at the Grand Auditorium.


·When the dome of the Grand Auditorium appeared in So Young, the audience in Nanjing immediately recognized the Grand Auditorium. This simple and unsophisticated time-honored building with more than 80 years of history only appeared for a few seconds in the TV show, but very recognizable.


·Moreover, The Founding of A Republic, Soulmate and The Ark of Mr. Chow also took the Grand Auditorium as the filming location.


The Grand Auditorium, dignified and majestic, is suitable for serious drama, and located at a university campus, suitable for youth films as well.



The Grand Auditorium greatly represents the students' pride of their alma mater. For SEUers, it is not only the place where their dreams set sail, but the starting point upon graduation. If we consider SEU as our home, the Grand Auditorium is exactly the symbol of home. It has been engraved on the school badge, and graduates pack it into their bags to start a new life.


Students change in groups year after year, but the Grand Auditorium is always staying where it is: welcoming you to join us and waiting for you to come back. 

Source: Southeast University