THE NEW ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO, PART THREE (2017): Operaen; The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet

 |   |  3 min read

THE NEW ARCHITECTURE OF OSLO, PART THREE (2017): Operaen; The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet

In the first two parts of this brief series about the architecture of Oslo, we looked at the new developments in the Barcode area and around the Renzo Piano-designed Astrup-Fearnley Museum of Modern Art.

The centrepiece of Oslo's archirtectural regeneration and development however is the undeniably beautiful and strikingly innovative home to the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, a landmark building on the foreshore which has become a public space unlike many other buildings of similar size and intent.

The low sloping roof made up of 36,000 pieces of Carrara marble from Italy is like a public park on which people walk across at all hours of the day and night, and the fact the building is open by day means visitors and the curious can amble around the oak-paneled interior which also becomes a public space in which there is a restaurant, cafe and shop alongside the usual booking offices and so on.

The opera house is public domain and further proof that culture can be a magnet as well as a driver of tourism and development.

It is no coincidence that Barcode has grown up behind the opera house or that buildings in the nearby old town are now undergoing renovation and restoration.

The architectural competition of 2000 to develop an opera/ballet house on the site drew 240 entries but was won by the local architects Snohetta whose vision was of a seemingly low lying link between the sea and the city, one which would be a landmark development and art object in its own right.

The building opened in April 2008 when people could at last appreciate the scale of the The Carpet (the roof landscape), The Wave Wall (of oak, in the foyer) and The Factory which is the enormous area behind the stages where the workshops, offices, design teams and researchers are located.

Interestingly many of these "private" areas are visible through the windows along the side of the opera house, so passers-by can watch set designers, costume-makers and others at work.

By day and night, the opera house's white marble and aluminium-sheathed fly tower catch the changing light, reflect the colours of the sky and make for a magisterial link between art, architecture, land, sea and sky.

Below are a series of photographs of the exterior and interior of this remarkable building which has re-invigorated Norwegian design and become an icon in the architectural and emotional landscape. 

oslomap3

ballet1

ballet2

ballet3

ballet4

ballet5

ballet6

ballet7

ballet9

ballet10

ballet8

opera1

opera2

opera3

opera4

opera5

opera6

opera7

opera9

opera8

opera10

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Cultural articles index

RICHARD MEIER'S GETTY CENTRE IN LOS ANGELES (1999): Architecture, art and anger

RICHARD MEIER'S GETTY CENTRE IN LOS ANGELES (1999): Architecture, art and anger

High in the hills overlooking Los Angeles, The Getty Centre offers a commanding view. “Yeah, on a clear day you can see smog forever,” says a droll Angelino as he stares into the... > Read more

JOHN PULE IN NIUE (2013): The homecoming

JOHN PULE IN NIUE (2013): The homecoming

John Pule pushes aside another tangle of thick branches, steps through the ankle-grabbing undergrowth, scans the ground which is strewn with coconuts then peers closely into the green canopy... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Billy Hart Quartet: One is the Other (ECM/Ode)

Billy Hart Quartet: One is the Other (ECM/Ode)

Although drummer Bily Hart seems to have been around since jazz was a young man -- he's now 73 and played in soul bands behind Otis Redding and others before seriously embarking on the jazz route... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

As has been noted previously at Elsewhere, anyone interested in world music learns quickly to never judge an album by its cover. In many countries the cover is just the thing you wrap around the... > Read more