Chapel of Sound
North of Beijing, a valley famous for some remnants of Ming Dynasty Great Wall, a Chapel of Sound.
This semi-outdoor concert hall sits at the bottom of the valley, looking like a giant rock miraculously landed here in prehistoric times. The concrete is mixed with aggregates made from crushed local mineral rich rocks. The inverted cone shaped structure houses a semi-outdoor amphitheater, an outdoor stage, viewing platforms, and supporting spaces. Shaped acoustically for music performances, it can also be used as a space for contemplation and community gatherings. The large opening on the top together with small openings of varied shapes on the sidewalls, bring in stunning views of the sky and the surrounding valley, as well as different sounds of nature. When it shines, sun light dances across the rough surfaces of the cave during a sunny day; when it rains, water is invited to come in from the opening on the top, splashing on the floor, and be thoughtfully drained away.
When there is no singing or instruments playing, one can still come and sit inside, quietly listen to birds singing, insects chirping, gentle breezes rustling through, or rain dropping on the floor. Inside this mysterious space, nature orchestrates an ever-changing symphony. It is a chapel of sound.
The layered form of the building takes inspiration from the sedimentary rock formations in the surrounding mountains while asserting the human hands involved and avoiding lame mimicry of natural rocks. Against the backdrop of the rough and cave like space, carefully designed details that are warm to touches quietly bring comfort to the exhausted urban souls seeking a moment of escape in nature.
Ascending to the top through winding stairways, one suddenly finds him or her-self on a plateau and surrounded by a stunning panoramic view of the valley with the ancient Great Wall in the near distance.
Location: Chengde, China
Floor area: 371
Site area: 617
Status: Design Development