Harbin, China gets new opera house

Saturday, December 19th, 2015. Filed under: Art Destinations Entertainment Home & Garden
Harbin Opera House: night view of the main entrance to the grand lobby featuring the crystalline skylight ©Adam Mørk

Harbin Opera House: night view of the main entrance to the grand lobby featuring the crystalline skylight
©Adam Mørk

(Relaxnews) – Beijing-based MAD Architects have completed construction of the Harbin Opera House in the northern Chinese city of Harbin but it is not yet open to the public. It is part of the Harbin Cultural Island project, which consists of the opera and a cultural center located along Harbin’s Songhua river. The complex covers an area of 850,00 square feet (25,9080 meters).

The Harbin Opera House lies on the city’s wetlands and is designed to reflect the city’s cold climate. It gives the impression of having been sculpted by the wind and seems to undulate and blend in with the surroundings. The exterior is made of white aluminum panels, giving the building a smooth and soft appearance.

The curvilinear interior of the lobby has large glass walls that connect visitors with the exterior and the spacious plaza outside. Overhead, a crystalline glass ceiling comprised of pyramid structures offers a connection to the outside and provides natural light. Visitors can explore the façade of the building and walk up the structure’s carved paths, which culminate at an observation platform offering a view of Harbin and the surrounding wetlands.

Harbin Opera House: aerial view from the east ©Hufton+Crow

Harbin Opera House: aerial view from the east
©Hufton+Crow

The Opera’s Grand Theater can seat up to 1,600 people. It was constructed with rich wood, giving a warm, cozy feeling and the Manchurian Ash walls wrap around the stage and setting. The materials used and the spatial configuration offer breathtaking acoustics.

The Harbin Opera House also has a second, smaller theater that can hold up to 400 visitors. There is a large, sound proof window behind the stage that connects it with the outside world and offers a scenic background.

Harbin Opera House is more than a place of theatrical performance. It was designed by MAD Architects to connect the public with the outside surroundings, and blend with the structure with environment such that it becomes part of the landscape.

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