New Opera House Oslo
Like ice floes in the water

For quite a long time, there had been discussions in Norway about building a new opera house in Oslo. Finally, in the year 2000, a competition for the realisation of the new building was held and won by the architectural office Snøhetta. The opera house, completed in 2007, is located right at the harbour and in the future is to develop into the centre of the new city district of Bjørvika southeast of the main railway station. Inspired by the location on the fjord, the architects designed a building which protrudes into the bay like a peninsula. The building volumes rise like ice floes out of the water and thereby form a series of public spaces right on the shore. At night, not only the impression of ice floes is intensified at the Oslo Fjord, the building becomes at the same time a luminous work of art.

The 20,000 square-metre, bright white roofscape of the building is covered with slabs of Carrara marble and is open to the visitors as well as to the inhabitants of the city. The white marble is continued as the floor in the foyer. In the light-filled hall with the supports arranged at a bias, through the up to 15 metres-high glass façade the visitor enjoys a spectacular view of the bay.

A contrast to the white supports and the light-coloured marble floor is provided by stairs and galleries panelled in narrow oak slats and leading to the horseshoe-shaped opera hall. According to the client’s wish, regarding form, size and structure the hall resembles that of the Semper Opera in Dresden. The walls and the curved banisters of the auditorium, which seats 1,630 people, are panelled in dark, oiled oak.

A second, smaller stage adjacent on the side has been designed as a Black Box with black wood and reflecting metal. All told, in the building with an overall area of almost 40,000 square metres there are more than 1,000 rooms, among them rooms for rehearsal and work as well as workshops for the stage designers, costume makers and carpenters. These functionally designed administration and production rooms of the opera are in the eastern part of the building with a view inland. The beige DLW Linoleum Marmorette forms in the tailors’ workshop a subdued background for the colourful costumes. In other areas you can also find DLW Vinyl Favorite in ash crome.