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OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed 'chapel of sound'

built nature

 

OPEN architecture unveils its cavernous concert hall, dubbed ‘chapel of sound,’ a concert hall which overlooks the distant mountains north of beijing. the volume is nestled into the valley in china, and suggests a rocky and organic landform. the structure is built entirely of concrete mixed with an aggregate of locally-sourced rocks, the form of the inverted conical structure is designed to optimize acoustics.

 

the project integrates a semi-outdoor amphitheater, an outdoor stage, and viewing platforms. inside, the cave-like space is naturally illuminated by a large skylight, along with small and varied apertures cut out of the walls. these openings frame views of the sky and distant landscape. see designboom’s previous coverage here.

 

designboom spoke with li hu and huang wenjing, founding partners of OPEN architecture, about the development of the ‘chapel of sound’ — see the interview below!

OPEN chapel soundimage courtesy of OPEN architecture

 

 

the acoustics of a cave

 

the design team at OPEN architecture developed its chapel of sound after investigating the resonant cavities found in shells, wooden instruments, and the human ear. through software simulation, the shape of the hall was optimized for sound quality while apertures serve to absorb sound and avoid undesirable reverberations. the layered nature of the structure mimics the sedimentary rock formations of the surrounding mountains.

 

within the context of the rough, cavernous space, thoughtful detailing is designed with care and warmth offers quiet comfort as visitors take respite in both natural and musical sound. even with no scheduled performance or musical event, the hall remains a destination for visitors — one in which to sit and quietly listen to an ever-changing natural symphony of birdsong, wind, and rain.

OPEN chapel sound
image © jonathan leijonhufvud

 

 

OPEN architecture’s chapel of sound

 

when the sun shines, the cavernous interior of the chapel of sound is illuminated from above and transformed with intricate shadows. rainwater creates a meditative performance of its own as it falls through the hall’s central opening, splashing onto the floor before flowing out through integrated channels. when ascending the winding stair toward the top of the hall, visitors emerge onto an exterior plateau rooftop. there, surrounded by panoramic views of the valley, they are greeted by the sight of the nearby great wall for which the area is famous.

OPEN chapel sound

 

 

a dialogue with open architecture

 

designboom (DB): what aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?

 

OPEN: hard to say, but the most fascinating aspect of being an architect, as least to us, is the feeling that we continue to absorb, learn and grow. the world is such a complex mess, trying to make sense of it through architecture is hard, but fun.

OPEN chapel sound
image © jonathan leijonhufvud

 

 

DB: can you tell us about how the chapel of sound will be experienced?

 

OPEN: I’d hope people experience it in person of course, leaving all the annoyances and complexities of life behind, just be there with yourself, and nature. see what you can hear.

OPEN chapel sound
image © jonathan leijonhufvud

 

 

DB: can you explain the role of natural forms in your design process?

 

OPEN: nature is the ultimate source of inspiration for us.

 

DB: how are projects developed within your team, from idea to realization? are sketching and model-making still a part of the process?

 

OPEN: sketching, model-making (physical and digital), day-dreaming, tedious drawing, rip-it-apart and try again, listening and understanding… these are all part of the process. each project has its own unique journey of discovery.

OPEN chapel sound
image © jonathan leijonhufvud

 

 

DB: what do you consider to be the role of an architect working in today’s society?

 

OPEN: giving form to our collective future responsibly and creatively, with imagination.

 

DB: outside of architecture, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your work?

 

OPEN: trying to make sense of this complex world; trying to overcome the disturbance to our humanly sensitivities caused by weightless overflow of information. so, reading, thinking, and going out to nature.

OPEN chapel soundimage © zhu runzi

OPEN-architecture-jinshanling-chapel-of-sound-designboom-06a

OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed 'chapel of sound'image by ni nan

OPEN-architecture-jinshanling-chapel-of-sound-designboom-08a

image © jonathan leijonhufvud

 

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OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 
OPEN architecture reveals an unseen look at its newly completed ‘chapel of sound’
 

project info:

 

project title: chapel of sound

architecture: OPEN architecture

location: jinshanling, china

client: aranya

completion: 2021

photography: jonathan leijonhufvud, zhu runzi, ni nan, right angle

video: zhu runzi, ye wenrui
 
principles-in-charge: li hu, huang wenjing


design team:  zhou tingting, fang kuanyin, huang zetian, lin bihong, chen xiuyuan, cai zhuoqun, kuo chunchen, tang ziqiao


structural & MEP engineers: arup


lighting consultant: ning field lighting design


theater consultant: JH theater architecture design consulting company
landscape design: guangzhou turen landscape planning co., ltd.
signage design: OPEN

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