Chapel of Sound, China by OPEN Architecture

A “prehistoric boulder” fallen into the valley

Project Specs

Design Firm:

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North of Beijing, in a valley famous for hosting remnants of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall—a Chapel of Sound.

▼室外效果图,exterior view collage ©OPEN Architecture


▼室外演出效果图,outdoor concert collage ©OPEN Architecture

This semi-outdoor concert hall rests on the floor of the valley, as if a strange and prehistoric boulder had fallen there long ago. Made entirely out of concrete mixed with an aggregate of crushed local mineral-rich rocks, its inverted conic structure houses a semi-outdoor amphitheater, an outdoor stage, viewing platforms, and supporting spaces. Shaped acoustically for music performances, the hall can also be used as a space for contemplation and community gatherings. The large opening on the structure’s top, together with small openings of varied shapes cut into its walls, bring in stunning views of the sky and surrounding valley, as well as the different sounds of nature.

▼室内演出场景,indoor concert ©OPEN Architecture

▼室外舞台,outdoor stage ©OPEN Architecture


When the sun shines, sunbeams dance across the rough surfaces of the cave, filling it with light as well as sound; when it rains, water too creates a meditative performance of its own as it falls through the hall’s central opening, splashing onto the floor before flowing out through floor channels. When there is no scheduled concert– no choir or instruments playing—the hall still remains a destination—one at which to quietly listen to the sound of birds singing, insects chirping, gentle breezes rustling through nearby trees, or raindrops on the floor. Inside this mysterious space, nature orchestrates an ever-changing symphony. It is a chapel of sound.

▼室内独处场景,solitary sanctuary ©OPEN Architecture


The layered form of the building takes inspiration from the sedimentary rock formations of the surrounding mountains, while asserting the human hands involved in its construction and avoiding mere mimicry of natural rock. Against the backdrop of the rough and cave-like space, details designed with care and warmth offer quiet comfort as visitors take respite in both natural and musical sound.

▼立面分层灵感来源,layered form inspired by site


Finally, ascending to the top through winding stairways, visitors suddenly find themselves on a plateau on top of the concert hall. There, surrounded by stunning panoramic views of the valley, they are greeted by the sight of the nearby Great Wall.

▼楼梯,staircase ©OPEN Architecture

▼面向长城的观景平台,Great Wall viewing platform ©OPEN Architecture

▼施工照片,construction photo ©OPEN Architecture

▼概念草图,design sketch ©OPEN Architecture

▼模型照片,site model

▼横向剖面图,cross section ©OPEN Architecture

▼纵向剖面图,longitudinal section ©OPEN Architecture

建筑面积:790 m²

Project Name: Chapel of Sound
Design Year: 2017-2019
Status: Under Construction
Client: Aranya
Size: 790 sqm
Location: Chengde, China
Architects: OPEN Architecture
Principles-in-Charge: LI Hu, HUANG Wenjing
Design Team: ZHOU Tingting, FANG Kuanyin, LIN Bihong, KUO Chunchen, HU Boji, YANG Ling, LI Li, CHEN Yang
Structural & MEP Engineers: Arup
Lighting Consultant: Beijing Ning Zhi Jing Lighting Design Co., Ltd.
Theater Consultant: JH Theater Architecture Design Consulting Company

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