Oslo Opera House

Project: International Competition for 

National Opera House

Location: Oslo, Norway


Brief: 35,000m2 concert hall with main 1200 seat auditorium, 2 smaller auditoria, ballet school, rehearsal, workshop and office facilities.


The concept idea was to create a single organic form which changes in shape to suit varying functions. The public part of the Opera House is a transparent, low, wide, elliptical form, whilst non-public areas are housed in a narrow, tall, elliptical tower to suit respective functions. The stage and backstage areas are located in the transitional zone between these two ellipses.


The main auditorium, which stands undisturbed at the heart of the public zone, is clad in smooth polished mahogany, giving a reference to the classical traditions of opera.


The building envelop is made up of a net of hard elements which hangs on the functional volumes within. 


This net is then clad with panels of varying materials - glass, obscure glass, zinc and copper, according to daylight requirements and use, giving the effect that the building changes its appearance in different climatic conditions - reflects in the sun, shines when wet, and ripples in the wind.


Engineer: Ove Arup & Partners

Cost Manager: Hanscomb