Chapel of Music

The Chapel of Music is the fourth architectural project completed by Vector Architects in Aranya Qinhuangdao community. It stands in contrast to its predecessors, including the Seashore Library, Seashore Chapel, and Restaurant y Sea, all of which enjoy direct seafront locations. The chapel is anchored within the heart of the community plaza, known as Youyi Bay. Positioned slightly north of the plaza's center, it neighbors the canteen and market to the north, the residential apartments to the west, together with the hotels and shops to the south.


We envision this chapel as an exquisite music instrument landing onto the plaza. By orchestrating sound, light and air, we aim to create a new type of music hall space. The origin of the design stems from the section. We vertically arranged the Meditation Rotunda at the lower level, while the Skylight Music Hall on top of it at the upper level. The Music Hall has a sunken stage in the center. Viewed from the Meditation Rotunda, it appears like a suspended disc. Surrounding the stage, seats for forty-eight spectators are laid out in two levels. As the performance unfolds, the sound fills the hall, and transmits down to the rotunda through nine brass sound transmission tubes embedded among the seatings. The Music Hall is crowned with a large retractable circular pneumatic roof, introducing the skylight. In favorable weather conditions, the roof ascends, transforming the Music Hall into an outdoor theater.


The Meditation Rotunda on the lower floor is nine-meter high. By leaving a fifty-centimeter- wide gap with operable glass panels at the corner of walls, natural light softly diffuses through the corner gaps below, as well from the upper gaps around the suspended stage. Polished concrete seatings are arranged along the wall, resembling a lounge chair allowing people to recline naturally, and immersing themselves into the music, natural light, and the permeating breeze. On this deliberate solid volume of the Chapel, we've incorporated a large view window at the eastern façade, providing the audience with an opportunity to gaze at the sea horizon beyond as they exit after the concert.


The chapel is centrally located within the community, with three distinct building facets respectively responding to the flows of people entering the plaza and the sea. The three concave curves of the chapel’s outer walls are delineated for a harmonious coexistence with the three groups of adjacent buildings on the plaza, jointly creating various public spaces with diverse atmospheres and scales. By elevating the building from the ground, the open character of the plaza is maintained while also providing a shelter for people to rest. The entrance lobby, located on the raised first floor, is accessible via a long ramp slightly offset and parallel to the building’s curving east wall. The ramp faces the canteen and market on the northern side, inviting people while guiding the way into the chapel for embarking on an exploration of music and space.

Location: Beidaihe New District, Qinhuangdao, Hebei, China
Architecture/Interior Design: Vector Architects
Principal Architect: Dong Gong
Project Architects: Zhao Liangliang, Liu Shida
Design Management: Zhang Han, Li Jinteng
Site Architects: Zeng Zihao, Tan Yeqian
Project Team: Zeng Zihao, Li Mofei, Zhang Liwen
Structural Design: Ma Zhigang, Zhang SuiPing, Zhang Lei
MEP Design: Qi Xudong, Zhang Fujun, Wang Yafeng, Liu Xiaojie, Yu Weipeng
LDI: Dalian Architectural Design & Research Institute Co.,Ltd
LDI Project Architect: Lin Chuanyu
LDI Architect: Jiang Yue
Lighting Consultant: TORYO International Lighting Design (Beijing) Center Co., Ltd.
Acoustic Consultant: JH Theatre Architecture Design Consulting Company
Signage Designer: Beijing SEED Cultural Media Co., Ltd.

Client: Aranya · Qinhuangdao
Construction Contractor: Jiangsu Jiangdu Construction Group Co., Ltd.
Structure System: Shear Wall Structure
Materials: Fair-faced Concrete, ETFE, Glass, Terrazzo, Brass, Teakwood
Floor Area: 455㎡
Footprint Area: 261㎡
Design Period: 2020.02 - 2021.05
Construction Period: 2021.03 - 2023.09
Photograph: Arch-Exist, Chen Hao, Su Shengliang