29 May 2020



Close to six years after MAD Architects won an international open competition for Harbin Cultural Island, a master plan for an opera house, a cultural centre, and a surrounding wetland landscape in the northern Chinese city of Harbin, it has unveiled the completed project to the world.  The sinuous opera house which features a grand theatre for 1600 patrons and a smaller one for 400 occupies a building area of roughly 850,000 sq ft. The Harbin Opera House has been designed keeping in mind the force and spirit of the city’s natural elements. The curvilinear structure with its white aluminium panels appears as if sculpted by wind and water.  Such is the participatory nature of the design that the undulating architectural mass ends up extending to a large public plaza, and during winter melds with the snowy environment. An open, exterior performance space acts as an observation platform for visitors to survey the panoramic views of the city. Transparent glass walls span the grand lobby space visually connecting the curvilinear interior with the swooping façade and exterior plaza – a simple opulence of material sensation and natural light.




Yet another supertall tour de force which combines Michael Angelo’s Renaissance with the post modern is expected to be soon part of the famed New York skyline with architect Mark Foster Gage unveiling design plans for a 102 storey residential building. The structure leaping out of the earth in the heart of Manhattan seeks to be more than the conventional modernist box with sweeping views of the city, thanks to its architectural aesthetics. This includes a carved Gothic stone façade with gargoyles sculpted outside the balconies which rise over Central Park. Each unit in the 21st Century tower, to be built on 41 West 57th Street, will have its own individual personality while the structure itself will be draped in a façade of limestone-tinted Taktl concrete panels with hydroformed sheet-bronze details and brass-tinted alloy structural extrusion enclosures. The plans for the luxury building include a sky-lobby with exclusive retail stores on the 64th floor, a 2-story high ballroom for events, and a 4-star restaurant all of which have access to four enormous cantilevered balconies supported by concrete carved wings which extend outwards from the structure's exterior.