A Sinuous Opera House By MAD Architects


Architecture studio MAD Architects designed the ‘Harbin Opera House’, a dramatic sinuous building overlooking the Songhua River in the Chinese city of Harbin. The opera house is located on an island called ‘Cultural Island’ and hosts a grand as well as a small theater. The structure’s curved facade consists of aluminum panels and glass pyramids that diffuse natural sunlight into the lobbies. Additionally, a large-scale sculpted wooden staircase connects the various parts of the building, made from the same Manchurian Ash wood that was used to clad the main stage and seating area of the grand theater.

Speaking of the idea behind the concept, the architects say: “The Harbin Opera House was designed in response to the force and spirit of the northern city’s untamed wilderness and frigid climate. Appearing as if sculpted by wind and water, the building seamlessly blends in with nature and the topography—a transfusion of local identity, art, and culture.”

All images © Hufton+Crow Adam Mørk

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