Chapel of Sound By OPEN Architecture

The Chapel of Sound, located in a steep valley two hours by vehicle from Beijing’s downtown, is a monolithic open-air performance theatre with views of the Ming Dynasty’s Great Wall remnants. The building, which is entirely made of concrete and enriched with an aggregate of local mineral-rich rocks, was designed by Beijing-based architecture firm OPEN to resemble a mysterious boulder that had gently fallen into place. It includes a semi-outdoor amphitheatre, outdoor stage, viewing platforms, and a green room.

A Peaceful Retreat For Reflection And Community Events

Chapel of Sound / OPEN Architecture,the building touches the ground with minimum footprint. Image © Runzi Zhu

While the architects wanted guests to relax and listen to the sound of nature, which they believe is profoundly inspirational and restorative, the building was also built to capture the unusual and highly affecting experience of music performed in the cradle of nature. When there isn’t a show, the music hall serves as a peaceful retreat for reflection and community events, with breathtaking views of the sky.


The founding partners of OPEN, Li Hu and Huang Wenjing, were motivated by a goal to reduce the concert hall’s imprint in the valley by designing a structure that was in conversation with the surrounding natural landscape while nevertheless seeming clearly man-made. The final rock-like structure is made up of an inner and outer shell, with the space between them acting as a truss, and was created in close collaboration with Arup, an international engineering firm. Each striation, made of concrete, cantilevers out from the previous layer to form the inverted cone shape. The building’s winding staircases lead to a rooftop platform with magnificent views of the valley and the Great Wall. Bronze accents for elements such as railings and doors are employed to provide a warm contrast against the concrete in the interior areas.

An Outstanding Acoustic Environment

Chapel of Sound / OPEN Architecture,semi-outdoor amphitheater. Image © Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The architects were encouraged by the project’s open brief to investigate all areas of performance, namely how sound behaviours may be a driving factor behind the ultimate shape of a building; Li and Huang emphasised their desire to “see the shape of sound.” Finally, they were interested in how sound reverberates in natural environments like caverns. They recognised the issues here were how to produce an outstanding acoustic environment without introducing more sound absorbent materials, having designed theatres and concert halls. Working with acoustic engineers, OPEN considered the various ways in which people will perceive sound in the performance hall and created openings that serve as sound absorption spaces as well as a connection to the outside world.


Written By Ankit Lad | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico

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