Let’s slip back over to Oslo tonight, to visit the Opera House (which also houses he National Ballet, plus theatre, concerts, and more) designed by none other than one of my favs, Snøhetta.
One of the things that makes this building stand out – besides its gleaming white facets emerging from the water like an iceberg – is how much it integrates itself into the city through those facets. They are huge ramps, inviting everyone to stroll up the face of the building and walk along the roof, taking in the views, sun, and experience. And whenever we passed there were always plenty of people doing just that. Even better, several times a year they anchor a barge in the bay for either a stage or a screen and host giant, free, concerts and other events. (We even saw the barge being prepared on our last day there).
Inside, things take a turn for the sensual, with the three theatres contrasting the angular exterior through being wrapped in rich and sinuous wood. The lofty main entry hall is extra fun, seeing past the wood drum as it rises to watch people pass by the windows as they walk on the roof outside.
The seating lobbies and the main theatre both carry the rich and enveloping theme even further.
A cool and nifty exterior coupled with a warm and nifty interior makes for a sculptural and appropriately theatrical building of beauty, well used and well loved by the city, and now its almost de facto center point. Great work.
The Norwegian National Opera House by Snøhetta. (Who won the commission through a blind open design competition – only after the entry was chosen did anyone learn the fortune that that a local Oslo firm had won!)