Strahlend weisser Fremdkörper

Bokern, Anneke
January 2009
werk, bauen + wohnen;Jan2009, Issue 1/2, p10
Trade Publication
The Norwegian National Opera was founded only in 1959, following an initiative by singer Kirsten Flagstad. Initially it was housed in an old cinema in the inner city of Oslo that proved to be too small to serve as a permanent home. In 2000 the Norwegian architects firm of Snøhetta emerged as the winner of a competition for a new building. The new opera house stands at the harbour basin of Bjørvika, for, like so many European cities, Oslo wants in the future to open towards the water. At the moment the building stands majestically alone in an area of post-industrial confusion that offers little that might induce one to linger there. The opera house itself will have to set in motion the development of the new urban landscape of which it will eventually form a part. The roof of the opera house was formulated as an accessible landscape, as the opera is intended to be an anti-monumental and demonstratively open building. Half of it stands on rock; half on piles made in soft, newly reclaimed ground. The marble roofscape rises like a pile of ice floes from the harbour, which indeed in winter often freezes over. Inside one finds oneself first of all in the bright, open spatial landscape of the foyer into which the wood-clad exterior of the auditoria projects. Internally the large auditorium, which has 1370 seats, is also completely clad in oak. The attractiveness of the opera building derives from the fact that it is a well-calculated composition of opposites. The transposition of the visitor from the real to the virtual world is expressed by changes in the formal language, materials and atmosphere. At the same time the entire building operates within a field of tension stretching between objectuality and the relationship to the landscape, which could, however, dissolve when the city one day grows up around the opera house.


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