Harbin Cultural Center is a shining example of good architecture by Beijing-based studio MAD Architects that strives to work with its environment rather than disrupt it. Instead of breaking up landscapes and changing the scenery, the buildings are as naturally incorporated into the surrounding landscape as possible. The center, which is being built on an island in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, takes full advantage of its surrounding area.
The sweeping structure boasts a modern design that manages to complement its landscape. Being constructed almost entirely out of concrete and white stone with a custom white aluminum cladding, it blends in with the often snowy scenery. The complex is made up of two large parts, one being the Harbin Grand Theater while the other is the Harbin Labor Recreation Center. Inside the theater, two large auditoriums clad in wood are designed to not only help with acoustics, but also add warmth and material variation inside the largely white interior. Meanwhile, in the Recreation Center, there will be conference spaces, cultural exhibits, and even a hotel for visiting guests.
The building’s site plan also features a previously present man-made lake cutting the compound in half, creating a very unique layout. Rather than working around it, the architects embraced this detail and connected the two buildings together with a long, narrow bridge and ribbon-like structure that then flows past the buildings and creates the encompassing plaza.
The project has only recently begun construction, having worked out the details since MAD Architects won a competition to design the space back in 2010. The Harbin Cultural Center is set to open by next year just in time for their July Summer concerts.