Harbin: The Latest Architecture and News
The world’s largest ice festival has opened to the public in China. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Heilongjiang, North-Eastern China draws 18 million visitors, marveling at the festival’s spectacular castles and sculptures. In total, the 2019 edition saw 120,000 cubic meters of ice and 111,000 cubic meters of snow crafted by thousands of artists in temperatures as low as -35C (-31F) using swing saws, chisels, and ice picks.
Having begun as an annual tradition in 1985, the festival has gained accolades such as the Guinness Record for the world’s largest snow sculpture (250 meters long and 8.5 meters high). The 2019 festival sees more than 100 landmarks, and ice sculptures by artists from 12 countries.
The Harbin Festival will be open for one month, closing on February 5th. Below, we have rounded up our favorite images of the festival so far, demonstrating that red hot architecture can be cold as ice.
Ice Sports Center of the 13th China National Winter Games / Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
Welcome to the latest installment of #donotsettle extra, the series in which Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost accompany some of their #donotsettle videos with in-depth textual analysis of the buildings they visit.
After last month’s visit to OMA’s first building in Shanghai, we stayed in China and headed north—far north. We are happy to take you to a building that has been high on our “to-do list.” Harbin, a provincial capital city in the north-east of China, has previously only been known for the large-scale ice sculptures that appear during the winter months. In the past two years, this has changed, at least for the architecture geeks spread around the world.
Ma Yansong and his team at MAD Architects designed and built the Harbin Opera House in a new part of the city. First announced in 2013, the building was completed at the end of 2015. Since then, an endless stream of breathtaking photos has been shared on the internet. We had to see this project with our own eyes! We ventured out to Harbin and spent a day at the Opera.
The Exhibition Hall of Crime Evidences in Harbin / Architectural Design & Research Institute of SCUT
Iwan Baan has unveiled a new series of images depicting a snow-covered Harbin Opera House by MAD Architects and its surrounding landscapes. The northern Chinese city of Harbin is known for its brutal winters where temperatures can reach -22°F (-30°C). In the photographs, the Opera House's sinuous white aluminum cladding echoes the ice formed in the adjacent river. “Harbin is very cold for the most of the year,” says MAD principal and founder Ma Yansong. “I envisioned a building that would blend into the winter landscape as a white snow dune arising from the wetlands.”
Winter is the perfect time to build structures with ice, a time and a technique that together offer the possibility of a pure white architecture. With a cloudy sky the condition culminates into an impressive whiteout: white architecture, the landscape and the sky dissolve into a diffuse unity without a visible horizon. If clear skies emerge a subtle contrast of warm and cool white appears with yellowish sunrays against the blue sky. However, the ice itself has striking effects as well: The surface appearance ranges from crystal clear glass to soft opaque impressions. And, for the long nights, illumination achieves an additional magical glow and extends the short daylight time.
Worldwide, snow shows, ice hotels and festivals have attracted numerous visitors with glistening snows and stunning lighting solutions. Futhermore, this frozen water strategy presents a sustainable solution par excellence, where the manufacturing and even disposal causes no harm to the environment. Read on to explore the coolest projects and events featuring architects and artists from Finland to China.
Designed by spatial practice, their proposal for the Harbin High Speed Railway (HSR) west train station Twin Towers. is an iconic project set to include office spaces, residential apartments, retail spaces and a hyper link to a new underground infra-structural hub. With China having the world’s longest High Speed Rail (HSR) network that connects the entire country from north to south and from east to west, the new West Train Station in Harbin will become the northern China gateway connecting to China’s major cities with daily high-speed links to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou. More images and architects' description after the break.
A proposal for an Olympic complex for Harbin’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, SuperStadium, designed by Alan Lu, seeks to integrate the multitude of Olympic arenas and villages into one continuous entity. Consequently, this design allows for a seamless transition between programs and events. More images and project description after the break.