Harbin Opera House
A cultural center for the future rises out of the landscape of northeastern China.
Inspired by nature and imbued in local identity, culture and art, the Harbin Opera House is an outstanding example of architecture’s ability to engage, transform, and delight. This gorgeous book takes readers through every step of the design and construction of the landmark building, which rises like a “snow dune” in a large wetland area. Philip Jodidio shows how architect Ma Yansong incorporated the city’s surrounding wilderness and climate into a curvilinear design—a poetic mélange of edge and surface, softness and sharpness. Hundreds of photographs highlight how the enormous diversity of materials and construction—not only aluminum and concrete but also crystalline glass and Manchurian ash—brought together to create an invitation to linger, to appreciate the landscape, and to feel warmly enveloped. Philip Jodidio also looks at the effect this “cultural island” has had on the city—briefly a Soviet outpost, recently invigorated by investments in the arts. An exhilarating look at the making of a cultural landmark, this architectural exploration illustrates the impact of a single building on a community, and the role good design plays in creating a harmonious and spiritual connection between the built environment, humans, and nature.
PHILIP JODIDIO is the author of more than 100 books on art and architecture, including Under One Roof; Architecture: Nature; Architecture: Art; and Afghanistan: Preserving Historic Heritage (all by Prestel). He lives in Switzerland.