After five years of construction, China's National Grand Theater undergoes its first test runs starting next Tuesday. The egg-shaped edifice is one of the most talked-about architectural projects in years. It's audacious and innovative design is by French architect Paul Andreu and the project itself has evolved on a grand scale.

Situated in the heart of the capital, the futurist theater emerges like an island at the center of a lake. Employing over 20,000 titanium panels and 12 hundred panes of laminated glass, the stunning exterior aesthetically portrays the opening of a giant curtain.

Entering the theater, audiences will pass through an 80-meter tunnel, looking up at shimmering water viewed through the transparent roof. (Click picture for enlargement.)