Welcome to the 27th edition of | Focus |, a photographic journal of innovative designs, combining wood with an emphasis on architecture, interior design and fashion.

This month  | Focus | features “The Opera House”

In 2010, MAD Architects unveiled the completed Harbin Opera House, which is located in the Northern Chinese city, Harbin. MAD Architects won the international competition for Harbin Cultural Island, a master plan for an opera house and cultural center surrounded by wilderness and wetland landscape located next to the Songhua River. Untitled-1 On the exterior, the architecture mimics the beautiful landscape of the surrounding area with it’s twists and turns like the nearby river. The Harbin Opera House is shaped to blend in with the encircling nature with its smooth weaving layers. Untitled-3 The opera house is one of the central social points of the Cultural Chinese Island in Harbin, which is spread out over an enormous area of approximately 850,000 square feet of the site’s 444 acres total area. It features a grand theater that can hold over 1,600 people and the smaller theater can accommodate a smaller audience of 400 people. Untitled-2 “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,” said the talented founding principal of MAD Architects, Ma Yansong. Untitled-7 Untitled-11 Once visitor’s enter this magnificent building they are greeted by wide window walls which let it an enormous amount of natural light.  Within the building is another striking structure. This structure encases the auditorium and is made almost entirely of rich wood. The brown subtle color of the wood gives off a warm feel to the social hot spot. Untitled-4 Untitled-8 It is made from Manchurian Ash and is very easy on the eye. Along the sides of the auditorium the wooden walls gently flow towards the main stage and theater seating, giving it an enclosed feeling. The use of wood gives back breath taking acoustic sounds when music is played by the orchestra or singer. Not only is the  theater  filled with beautiful sounds but is lit by skylight that can be dimmed when the show begins. Untitled-12 Untitled-5 Ignoring the stereotypical opera house look, MAD architects were inspired by nature and local culture. The architecture is theatrically accommodating to performers in both its performance of necessary spaces and its settlement within the landscape. Untitled-9

For more information go to www.i-mad.com

Good architecture lets nature in – Mario Pei



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