Opera house architecture hits a high note

When it comes to opera houses, ethereal architecture can make an aria even more sublime. And there may be no building quite as ethereal as the new opera house in Harbin.

Surrounded by wetlands, the capital of Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province has a very special new piece of architecture: the Harbin Opera House by MAD Architects.

The curving, swirling structure is meant to blend into the untouched landscape it inhabits, according to Forbes. It is covered in white aluminum panels that melt into the snow covered hills.

“Opera design normally focuses on internal space, but here we had to treat the building as part of its natural environment—one outside of the urban context,” Ma Yansong, principal architect and founder of MAD Architects, told Forbes.

The opera house opened in December and the firm has also designed a cultural center for the town, which will open this year.

“I didn’t want the building to look like a perfect industrial product—I wanted it to look more like a living creature,” Yansong said.