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For the sixth annual AZ Awards, our intrepid jury narrowed the field from over 800 submissions, received from dozens of countries, to select just 48 finalists that stood above the rest. In addition to presenting the AZ Award winners, Azure recognized these projects, products and concepts with Awards of Merit.

MAD Architects’ 1,600-seat venue is to northeastern China what the Guggenheim is to Bilbao. The design, with its swooping, curvilinear forms, owes a debt to Gehry, if only a small one, but the bigger influence is the Manchurian landscape, with its winding rivers and billows of snow. Patrons enter through the lobby, which is lit up with a curtain wall made from miniature glass pyramids, and find their seats in a theatre built from swelling masses of local ash. As well, a narrow promenade is cut into the aluminum-clad exterior, giving visitors a thrilling new way to explore the site.

Location: Harbin, China

Firm: MAD Architects, China

Team: Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano and Dang Qun, with Jackob Beer, Fu Changrui, Zheng Fang, Daniel Gillen, Liu Huiying, Jordan Kanter, Kin Li, Sohith Perera, J Travis Russett, Julian Sattler, Bas van Wylick and Zhao Wei ­

Harbin Opera house

Explore more Award Winners

2014
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Firm
Anmahian Winton Architects, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Team
Alex Anmahian and Nick Winton with Joel Lamere, Sydney Schremser and Todd Thiel
2017
Award of MeritBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Iowa City, U.S.
Firm
Steven Holl Architects, U.S.
2017
WinnerBuildings Over 1,000SqM
Location
Whistler, Canada
Firm
Patkau Architects, Vancouver, Canada