Oslo's new Opera house

In on of the largest cultural buildings to be completed in Norway since the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim (c.1300), Architects Snøhetta of Oslo and New York recently completed the construction of a new ballet and opera house, together with Norwegian based interior design company Bosvik.

In on of the largest cultural buildings to be completed in Norway since the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim (c.1300), Architects Snøhetta of Oslo and New York recently completed the construction of a new ballet and opera house, together with Norwegian based interior design company Bosvik.

With a base area equivalent to four international standard sized football pitches, the opera house has 1100 rooms. The front includes a main foyer, a large auditorium seating 1350 people, followed by a smaller auditorium holding 400 seats.

"As an internalised abstract landscape, the different areas in the foyer have been designed as part of a journey from landscape to building (entrance to auditorium). Furniture has been specially designed to fit into its location within this journey," said Simon Ewings, one of the project architects.

The foyer, containing rest areas, a coatroom, café, bars and a restaurant is a large open space characterised by a use of simple materials, and minimal details. Bosvik was tasked to clad the wall, separating the foyer from the auditoria, using around 3000 m2 of American white oak panels, sourced from the American Hardwood Council.

"It has to function when it is full of empty, be large but not cavernous. Allow small groups to interact but also be part of a larger event. Forms and furnishing are used to solve these contradictions and to mediate between different scales of experience," said Ewings.

"The building is intended to celebrate the artistic endeavor of opera and ballet but also to break down the elitist image of opera and be a place the general public can enjoy in its own right," he added.

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