MAD architects' fluid-formed harbin opera house opens in china
 

MAD architects' fluid-formed harbin opera house opens in china

along the songhua river and surrounded by the wetland landscape of harbin, MAD architects has revealed its design of a dynamic opera house in the northern chinese city. the completion marks the end of the five year construction which sees the building becoming a focal point of the cultural island. ma yansong, founder of MAD comments: ‘we envision harbin opera house as a cultural center of the future – a tremendous performance venue, as well as a dramatic public space that embodies the integration of human, art and the city identity, while synergistically blending with the surrounding nature.’

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the resulting curvilinear façade is composed of smooth white aluminum panels
image © adam mørk | main image © hufton + crow

 

 

embedded into the landscape, the form of the MAD architects building evokes a response to the location’s natural elements. appearing as if it was sculpted by the wind and water, the curvilinear and fluid structure – wrapped in smooth white aluminum panels – instills a poetic yet robust character. situated on an area of 850,000 square feet, the undulating architectural mass hosts a grand and small theater which wraps a large public plaza. inside, the sculptural quality continues with the interiors clad in a combination of glass and timber. soaring above the bright atrium, a lightweight diagrid structure supports a crystalline glass curtain wall comprised of transparent pyramids. the surface alternates between smooth and faceted – referencing the billowing snow and ice of the frigid climate.

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the undulating form appears to be sculpted by the location’s elements
image © adam mørk

 

 

the main room — the grand theater — is clad in rich manchurian ash wood, emulating a timber mass that has been gently eroded away. the timber walls climb up the main stage, wrapping the main stage and illuminated by the skylights. a combination of careful detailing and sensitivity to the local identity, art and culture of harbin have inherently cultivated the organic and sculptural form of the opera house which will take its visitors on an architectural and theatrical journey.

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upon entering the grand lobby, visitors will see large transparent glass walls spanning the grand lobby
image © hufton + crow

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the wooden element climb up the tall atrium space
image © hufton + crow

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a sculptural timber staircase winds up the atrium
image © hufton + crow

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a lightweight diagrid structure comprised of glass pyramids has a surface which alternates between smooth and faceted
image © hufton + crow

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the vast, lightfilled lobby space welcome visitors inside
image © hufton + crow

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sculpted from manchurian ash, the wooden walls gently wrap around the main stage and theater seating
image © hufton + crow

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the grand theater can seat 1,600 people and the smaller theater accommodates an intimate audience of 400
image © hufton + crow

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the seating rises through the timber mass
image © hufton + crow

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visitors discover an open, exterior performance space that serves as an observation platform with views of harbin
image © hufton + crow

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the scheme took four years to construct
image © adam mørk

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at night the form is illuminated from the interior
image © adam mørk

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  • the most beautiful flowing swaying thoughtful building I have ever seen. Its almost living in appearance, needing a caress like a beautiful animal.

    norma campbell
  • Design is outstanding but nothing mentioned of the most important aspect and that is the acoustics and what the stage offers? How many stages are there, is there a revolve, what hydraulic stage lifting/changing possibilities are there, what facilities are there back stage for artists and orchestra. You can do all sorts of things with design but what are the practical facilities of staging and listening to opera. Rehearsal rooms etc etc????

    Colin Hills
  • Brilliant, breath taking. Warm timber finishes for the interiors is superb. Big Fan

    Amarindra Rana
  • What I’ve learnt so far is to distinguish beautiful photographs from successful architecture. These buildings make great photo-shoot models, especially with wide lenses. These shapes are inherently beautiful, so whan I look at this, I have impression anyone can do this, with sufficient budget.

    Dcv
  • outzaha’ing Zaha. What an incredible building. I hope the acoustics live up to the visual impact.

    melon
  • One of the most beauiful buildings I have ever seen! Madly good…

    Lorene Bourguignon
  • Tom Parrett has à point!

    Atelier Argos
  • Someone’s been drinking from Zaha’s teacup

    lightmaker
  • One of the more astonishing buildings of modern times. So predatorily piscine though, won’t a person entering feel like prey? Is the architectural idea that the visitor feel like Jonah or a minnow? Even from the outside, you are choosing to submit to the architecture: Hi, enter my mouth. Apart from that, an amazing artifice — the word building does not come close. One hopes the music and performances live up to the, well, enclosure. MAD, you are unreal.

    Tom Parrett
  • Zaha´s style dominate the architectural practice!

    Roberto

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