Architectural Design For The Future

Beijing-based architecture firm, MAD, has unveiled a beautiful new opera house in the city of Harbin. On the banks of the Songhua River, Harbin Opera House forms the centrepiece of the city’s Cultural Island, along with Harbin Great Square and the Harbin Labour Recreation Centre.

Ma Yansong, founding principal of MAD states:

“I want to make the building blend into the horizon so it feels like part of the land. I took this pattern of the water flowing from the river banks, and I turned it into modern architecture.”

The building spans 850,349 square foot, with a bright white exterior, with its undulating curves and wave-like pointed glass skylight panels mimicking the movement of the river that passes by.

Beyond a simple landmark, the Harbin Opera House has an exterior staircase winding up the outside of the building to a viewing platform at the top. It goes beyond its primary function as an opera house as a public space, with an open-air pavilion for performances, weddings and for picnics.

“We used the building’s shape to create an outdoor space where people would feel comfortable and want to stay,” Yansong went on. “I wanted people to be able to climb the building, like a mountain.”

Yansong is enthusiastic about using architecture as a medium to benefit everybody in a community. “Beyond the shape and the space and the light,” he says. “I want to bring atmosphere.”

The exterior aesthetics of the Harbin Opera House continue to the interior. Interactive public spaces and beautifully carved timber features echo the natural world, creating a sense of calm, nature, and community. Wide, wooden staircases snake through the opera house, whilst the white interior walls sparkle with the light gazing in through the many skylights.

Yansong believes that we should bring a sense of the beautiful natural scenery of the world into architectural design, phasing out the angular, efficient aesthetic which currently dominates urban landscapes worldwide. This, he believes, is a way to allow us to “imagine something beyond the modern high-density urban context” that can affect our sense of wellbeing as a community.

The Aesthetics of Future Architectural Design

The Harbin Opera House is a spectacular example of the new direction that’s emerging within architectural design. This form of naturalistic aesthetic may form a valuable part of creating cities for the future that look past the economic demands that a city places upon its inhabitants, moving towards a society where people are placed first.


NB. The featured image is sourced from its original location at Azure Magazine. Please view it in its original context here.