MAD Architects' twisting, theatrical Harbin Opera House opens in China

by Kim Megson | 17 Dec 2015

A striking, sinuous opera house designed by Beijing studio MAD Architects has opened in the northern Chinese city of Harbin.

Located within the wetlands surrounding the Songhua River, the Harbin Opera House has been designed as a response to the region’s untamed wilderness and chilly climate. The building’s smooth white aluminium walls twist and turn as if sculpted by the water and wind, blending into the surrounding environment and transfusing the local identity with art and culture. Hidden pathways carved into the facade allow visitors to ascend the structure as if climbing a mountain.

The opera house occupies a building area of approximately 850,000sq ft (7,900sq m). Inside, large transparent glass walls span the lobby, visually connecting the curvilinear interior with the sweeping exterior. Above, a supported crystalline ceiling comprises of smooth and angular glass pyramids, referencing the snow and ice that covers the region in winter and allowing natural light to enter the lobby.

A swooping wooden staircase takes visitors from the lobby to the 1,600-capacity grand theatre, sculpted from Manchurian Ash wood, and a smaller venue for audiences of 400. At the top of the building, both ticketholders and members of the public can access an open rooftop performance space with panoramic views of the city’s skyline and wetlands.

“We envision Harbin Opera House as a cultural centre 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,” said Ma Yansong, founding principal of MAD Architects.

The opera house is the first project MAD have designed for the wider Harbin Cultural Island; a masterplan that also includes a cultural centre and large public plaza.

In 2013, the studio – who are based in Beijing – finished work on another museum in Harbin; the China Wood Sculpture Museum. Located in a densely-populated urban area, the 200m (656ft) long building is sheathed in twisting metal.

MAD are currently working on the Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago; a legacy project being developed by film director George Lucas.

Related stories

'A work of genius': Renzo Piano's cultural centre takes shape in the heart of Athens

MAD architects reveal revised plans for George Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art

George Lucas museum reveals architects for legacy project

MAD Architects reveal new China Wood Sculpture Museum

A striking, sinuous opera house designed by Beijing studio MAD Architects has opened in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. Located within the wetlands surrounding the Songhua River, the Harbin Opera House has been designed as a response to the region’s untamed wilderness and chilly climate. The building’s smooth white aluminium walls twist and turn as if sculpted by the water and wind, blending into the surrounding environment and transfusing
CLD,VAT,HAM,AAC,PRO,ARC,DES
Smooth and angular glass pyramids reference the snow and ice that cover the region in winter / Adam Mørk
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7535     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7535     
 
 
 
featured supplier
Featured Supplier: Ritz Carlton co-founder joins Frontline Summit 2020 as keynote speaker
Frontline work has never been more important and frontline workers are the largest class of workers on the planet, as well as the most impactful group on the experience customers get.
company profile
Company profile: Polin Group
Market leader in design, manufacturing and installation of waterslides and water leisure developments.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Manuelle Gautrand
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
BIG associate Jeremy Siegel is leading the BIG U project in New York
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

SHL are revitalising Boston’s World Trade Center hotel and conference facility
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

cladkit product news
BIG partners with Louis Poulsen for new lighting collection
The Keglen collection is made up of four different pendants
Lauren Heath-Jones
BIG Ideas, the technology arm of renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), has partnered with Danish lighting manufacturer Louis ...
XTU concept imagines life in the clouds
XTU's X Cloud concept is part of the Future and the Arts: AI, Robotic, Cities, Life - How Humanity Will Live Tomorrow exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo
Lauren Heath-Jones
XTU Architects, a Paris-based architecture firm, has released images and renderings of X Cloud, a new concept that showcase a ...
Metalline transforms London hotel with bespoke aluminium fins
The aluminium fins will form the façade of the upcoming Minories Hotel in Aldgate, London
Lauren Heath-Jones
Metalline, an architectural metalwork specialist based in the UK, has created a range of bespoke 3D twisted metal fins for ...
cladkit product news
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
Tom Dixon collaborates with Prolicht to launch CODE lighting range
The product has three LED light sources: Dot, Dash and Grid
Megan Whitby
British designer, Tom Dixon, and Austrian architectural lighting specialists, Prolicht, have collaborated to unveil a new lighting range. Called CODE, ...
Barr + Wray to launch space saving hammam concept
Light shines through a striking central chandelier to create a feeling of movement
Katie Barnes
Smaller footprint. Maximum theatre. Those are the two main features of a new hammam concept being developed by wet spa ...
cladkit product news
1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium celebrates Southampton FC's history
Rainbow Design worked closely with KSS Architects to ensure the furniture matched the design vision
Lauren Heath-Jones
KSS Architects has partnered with Rainbow Design, a London-based furniture supplier, to create the 1885 Lounge at St Mary's Stadium, ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
Daniel Svahn creates furniture collection using repurposed table tops
The Goodies But Oldies collection features three pieces made from repurposed MDF table tops
Lauren Heath-Jones
Daniel Svahn, a Stockholm-based furniture designer, has created a new range of sustainable furnishings, made from recycled MDF tabletops. Svahn, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates