Following in the tradition of iconic opera houses around the globe — think of Sydney’s well-known waterside structure, or the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles — Harbin now has its own unique cathedral to the classic art.
Designed by MAD Architects, a Beijing-based firm responsible for major projects around the globe, the opera house is intended to look like an organic outgrowth of its environment. It’s full of natural materials, undulating shapes, and innovative ways to bring light into a massive space.
Check out the futuristic images below.
Located on Harbin's wetlands, the structure takes up about 850,000 square feet of the site's 444 total acres. During the snowy winter, the opera house almost disappears into the frozen expanse.
'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,' Ma Yansong of MAD Architects said in a press release.
Smooth exterior white aluminium panels create a 'poetry of edge and surface, softness and sharpness,' according to MAD Architects.
Anyone can take the paths carved into the curvilinear façade to 'ascend the building as if traversing local topography' and take advantage of the city views.
It's constructed to take maximum advantage of natural light, and of the views of the surrounding wetlands.
Inside, wood has been matched with white aluminium and glass to create a sleek but warm environment, filled with bright light from the honeycombed ceiling.
Staircases weave sinuously through the space. Ma Yansong, the principal architect, told Forbes that he wanted the building to look more like a 'living creature' than an 'industrial product.'
The style seems reminiscent of an alien, futuristic life form -- kind of like the organic forms found in 2013's Superman movie.
A smaller, secondary theatre that seats 400 has concrete walls moulded into acoustically-friendly shapes.
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