The Harbin Opera House


Project: The Harbin Opera House
Location: Harbin, Beijing
Date 2010-2014
Design: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano


The grand theatre takes the natural beauty of the north as its premise. In an attempt to reduce such a large volume, the architectural form is a continuation of the natural environment as it becomes part of the landscape. The entire building acts as an undulating snow covered mountain, following a natural rhythm.Surrounded by rivers, the Cultural Island embraces the wide riverbank as its background appearing as a glacier stretching and connecting to each other into a cohesive whole.


The building is controlled by a frame formed by several graceful curves, which imitate the erosion of the land by river water at different water levels.

These control lines have also become landscape trails that can be passed through in some scenes. People can get a different sensory experience from different distances. The huge man-made lake between the Grand Theater and the Culture and Art Center contrasts the building with a long landscape bridge wedged in-between to form a Buddhist concept of “Void”.


In the glass surface part of the building, some algorithms have been passed, so that the originally smooth glass windows have different degrees of protrusions locally. You can think of this as the result of mathematics, but I prefer to think of it as the discretization done by mathematical means.

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