On the seaside in Beidaihe, Qinhuangdao, there is a small town called “Aranya”. It is said that the name Aranya comes from the Sanskrit word “Alanruo”, which originally means “a quiet place in the world, a place where you can find yourself”. This is a newly developed tourist attraction. Although it was developed late, it has come from behind. Its unique design concept, beautiful seaside scenery, Aranya Auditorium, Lonely Library, Art Center, Dune Art Museum, Aranya Theater, etc. The functional space composed of facilities is turning Aranya into an important cultural coordinate in the region and a “secret summer palace on the sea.”
Beidaihe’s new favorite
Aranya is located 500 meters north of the International Sandboarding Center in Beidaihe New District, Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province. It was founded in 2013. It has unique natural conditions and has a large area of coastal beaches, rich sand dunes, tidal wetlands and native woodlands. It is a popular attraction among people. Northern holiday destination.
The sea water quality in Anaya is good and the beach sand is fine. Although it is not as good as Hainan, Sanya and some islands in Southeast Asia, it is quite good in the north. It has been rated as one of the eight most beautiful coasts in China.
The sunrise in Aranya is a tourist activity that tourists cannot miss. Aranya is located on the veritable Gold Coast. In the early morning, when the sun slowly rises from the sea, a hint of red appears in the distant sky. The sun inadvertently shines on the beach, and all the scenery immediately turns golden, even standing there Tourists at the beach are not immune. First, their hair is dyed golden, and then their whole body becomes a “golden man”. It can be said that a moment of morning light is worth a thousand gold. No wonder some poetry friends exclaimed: This golden light is poetry!
If you are a photography enthusiast, Aranya will definitely make you enjoy taking photos. As long as your skills are not too poor, everyone can take very artistic photos.
Although the attractions in Aranya are all man-made, they have distinctive features, and some of them have become local landmarks. Such as the Lonely Library. Just hearing its name makes people feel a little incredible, but also a little curious: What kind of loneliness is this library?
The Lonely Library is a gray two-story building with a small building area of only about 450 square meters and a designed reader capacity of only about 100 people. At the beginning of the design, it was just to provide a place for residents living nearby to read and communicate freely. Now it is part of the public supporting facilities of the local residential community. The purpose of choosing this positioning is to create a quiet space for people to get close to nature, read with concentration, and be full of poetry.
Its construction location is very different from people’s traditional concept of a library – it is adjacent to the sea, standing alone on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves of the sea, and the thick gray concrete building is particularly eye-catching against the dark blue water. It is also known as “the loneliest library in the world”. The reason why it is given the name “lonely” is because there is no trace of artificial environment or landscape creation around the library, and there is not even a road connecting the outside world. Readers If you want to get here, you can only reach it by stepping on the sand and taking one step at a time.
From a distance, the Lonely Library looks like a natural gray reef. It is simple and pure, without any extraneous decoration. At the same time, it also truly embodies the spiritual state of “tolerance for everything” that expresses loneliness. At this time, “solitude” is no longer just the superficial meaning of “being alone” in the dictionary, but an “interconnected” relationship between space and site that the architect hopes to create: looking out the window, the wind is surging; looking inside the window , the room is filled with the fragrance of ink.
At the entrance to the north side of the library, there are no hanging shop signs or gates in traditional buildings. There is only a low wall with a square hollow dug out on it, which looks like a screen wall at the entrance of a courtyard. , and very much like the “leaky window” in the Chinese classical garden. Through it, you can see the dynamics in the museum: a little further away is the reading corridor, with seats arranged in a ladder-like manner from high to low; farther away, you can see the sea through the glass door on the south.
The Solitude Library consists of reading spaces, meditation spaces and activity rooms. As an important functional area, the reading room occupies two floors of space. Books are neatly stacked on bookshelves and desks. The walls are poured with concrete. The long desks and bookcases are made of wooden materials. The floor is made of bamboo steel… and the outdoor sea, The beach echoes. On the first floor of the reading room, there is a floor-to-ceiling glass door facing the sea. Beside the door are several seats facing the sea. Sitting here, you can see the waves and the beach through the floor-to-ceiling glass door. In terms of indoor lighting, the Lonely Library is also unique: circular electric light cannon barrels are neatly arranged on the roof, which can introduce natural light into the reading room and increase indoor brightness. Readers sit in the reading room, and the sunlight shines through the glass and through the unique light holes, bringing with it the smell of the sea. The lamps here are also unique in their installation. They are not hung on the roof, but supported on tables and the ground using poles. On a cloudy day, turn on the indoor light source. The light will not shine directly on people, but will spread upward, which is gentle but not dazzling.
Aranya is famous in large part because of this lonely library. It looks like a reinforced concrete sculpture, standing quietly on the seaside. Many people first know about Aranya because of this library built on the seaside. There are also many tourists who come here specifically to visit this library.
Such a library built on the beach, with no other unnecessary buildings nearby, looks lonely on the outside, but is actually full of unspeakable romantic feelings and poetry.
300 meters away from the Lonely Library is a completely white seaside auditorium, which is the Aranya Auditorium. Aranya rose because of the Lonely Library and became popular because of the auditorium. It can be said that the two buildings, one gray and one white, located on the beach made Aranya and together constitute the spiritual highland of Aranya.
The Aranya Auditorium is built on a beach very close to the sea. When the tide rises, its ground floor space will even be submerged by the sea water. The design of the auditorium is inspired by the work “Christina’s World” by American painter Andrew Wyeth – a ship adrift on the sea in the long past, which has experienced countless changes and vicissitudes of life. When the sea water recedes, the space structure left behind Still suspended above the beach.
Viewed from a high altitude, the auditorium looks like a white sailboat ready for sailing on the seaside, or a piano placed on the seaside. Its top is mainly triangular, with a quadrilateral exterior wall design, simple and elegant. A white corridor connects the auditorium to the seaside promenade. The stairs leading to the interior are bisected by a narrow opening in the middle, and the static building instantly merges into the dynamic natural rhythm. Stepping up the white stairs, the light moves slowly in the space, and the sea breeze blowing by your ears brings a slight coolness. In the auditorium, pure white granular texture walls are matched with brown wooden floors and wooden benches, giving it a natural charm. There is no dazzling light in the auditorium. Natural light penetrates through the gaps between the walls, forming geometric light spots, which makes the white-toned space retain a sense of warmth and fills it with a peaceful atmosphere of light and shadow. On the north side of the auditorium is a cantilevered space large enough for one person to meditate. Here, only the sea listens to your heart with you.
The Aranya Auditorium is also the venue for community concerts and art exhibitions. It is a cultural and art space full of rituals.
The Aranya Auditorium is beautiful. No matter what time it is – sunrise, sunshine, sunset, no matter what angle you look at it, as long as you walk on that beach, the pure white auditorium is so eye-catching. It has the blue sky and blue sea as the background. Every shot is a beautiful landscape painting. Especially at dusk, the sun hits the top of the auditorium slantingly, casting a faint shadow, and sometimes magical and rare natural three-color lights appear.
Dune Art Museum
After passing the Aranya Auditorium and walking along the beach, we arrived at the Dune Art Museum, the first domestic branch of the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, an independent art institution in China.
If the Aranya Auditorium is the architectural art on the sea, then the Dune Art Museum is the architectural art under the sand. This “hidden art museum” is like a mysterious cave dug on the beach. It covers an area of 930 square meters, has 3 floors, 7 indoor exhibition halls and 3 outdoor exhibition halls. These exhibition halls are like white “caves” of different shapes and connected to each other. Each “cave” leads to a different entrance or exit. There are several pure white buildings on the dunes.
The main entrance of the Dune Art Museum is embedded in the sand dunes and is very secretive. You will miss it if you don’t pay attention. After walking through the long dark tunnel at the entrance, visitors enter a reception hall with soft skylight. After passing the reception hall, it suddenly opened up – the central exhibition hall has arrived. There, light pours down from the high dome, bouncing and refracting between the walls and the ground. The concrete shell has irregular and even imperfect textures, allowing the traces of hand construction to be touched and felt.
In the museum, each exhibition hall has “holes” and skylights with different angles, with the purpose of introducing ever-changing natural light. Many visitors think that these “holes” and skylights are opened at random, but this is not the case. Their final positions are determined through precise calculations to prevent direct sunlight from shining on the artwork. In addition to providing lighting functions, these “openings” and skylights also serve as unique landscape showcases. Looking out from inside the museum, the different “holes” and skylights are like unique picture frames, framing the world under the blue sky and between the sea of sand. Visitors can have a clear understanding of the changes in light and shadow, wind and sand, and the flow of sea water.
After visiting the indoor exhibition hall, visitors can also go to three exhibition platforms with broad views to enjoy the scenery. At this time, you can choose to sit indoors and look at the blue waves outside the “cave” through the smooth glass, or you can walk to the “cave entrance” and be between the sea and the sky, taking a breath of the salty sea breeze.
The Dune Art Museum not only strives to integrate with the natural environment in appearance, but also contains a lot of “ingenuity” in its construction to achieve the sustainability of the building as much as possible: the roof covered with vegetation and sand reduces the weather in winter and summer. energy load; “holes” and skylights with different orientations provide all-weather natural lighting for the art gallery; a low-energy, zero-emission ground source heat pump system replaces traditional air conditioning and provides a constant temperature and constant humidity indoor environment for the art space… Modern technology This art museum is perfectly combined with the natural landscape, making its state closer to nature.
Living on this seaside, you can enjoy the tranquility of the lonely library, the sanctity of the seaside auditorium and the beauty of contemporary art under the sand dunes. A trail extending along the seaside strings them together to form a spiritual main axis of the seaside.
Araya Art Center
Following the Dune Art Museum, Aranya built an art center in 2019 to expand contemporary art exhibition space.
The art center is located in the southern district of Beidaihe Town, Aranya, and is also very creative in architectural design. The exterior of the building is made of black molded concrete bricks with different textures. It is thick and full, like a huge stone standing on the coast. What is shocking is that the heavy volume of this building is penetrated by a huge circular inner courtyard. The central space is equipped with a circular amphitheater, which not only caters for art display, but also serves as a public activity space for community residents. . In case of rainfall, the bottom of the courtyard is filled with rainwater, turning it into an indoor natural water feature.
The art center consists of a series of intertwined spaces connected by a spiraling path that subtly guides visitors through the different gallery spaces to a rooftop terrace overlooking the surrounding landscape and the interior of the building.
Taking photos in the amphitheater will definitely be outstanding. The surrounding empty space gives people the feeling of standing in the center of the universe. The sound of the wind can be clearly heard here, and even low voices can cause huge resonance.
A large wind chime with a diameter of 9 meters hangs in the atrium of the amphitheater. It is the art installation “Wind Chimes” tailor-made for this place by German artist Anselm Rehr. The quadrilateral aluminum alloy panels are cut and twisted, and as the motor suspension device on the top slowly spins in the air, it flexibly projects different light and shadow shapes onto the building surface and each viewer.
New literary and artistic focus place
There are many theaters in Aranya, among which Aranya Beehive Theatre, Aranya A Theater and Aranya Seaside Theater are the most famous. The three theaters have different styles, are independent and connected to each other, forming the Aranya Seaside Theater Community. They have also become the main stage of the Aranya Theater Festival, an experimental field for avant-garde theater, and a gathering place for community theater practice.
In addition, Aranya also has many public cultural buildings and cultural and art spaces, such as the Seaside Concert Hall, Dionysian Theatre, Archives Bookstore, Kaleidoscope Gallery, Aranya Store (professional creative rehearsal), Qin Qin Tea Room, outdoor statues, listening Tea space, subset art space, one-way space, etc. All the places for enjoyment, entertainment, and leisure that people think of are available here, and Aranya has become a well-known new literary and artistic gathering place in the country.