Snøhetta's Oslo Opera House

Earlier this month, Sofia and I went to Norway for a week to celebrate her birthday (as a gentleman, I won't say which birthday, but it was a big one...). Following a stint in Flåm and Bergen, we headed to Oslo to finish up the holiday, to eat some good food and drink some good (expensive) beer. Whilst there we spent a fair bit of time at Snøhetta's Opera House on the water.

All these photos were taken handheld, on my trusty holiday camera, the compact Lumix GF1.

Snøhetta won the competition to design the city's new Opera House in 2000 and construction finished in 2007. The roof of the building meets the ground outside to form a wide public plaza allowing people to walk up to the roof for some great views of the harbour. In the architect's own words; "It's low slung form became a link within the city rather than a divisive sculptural expression. Its accessible roof and broad, open public lobbies make the building a social monument rather than a sculptural one."

"The building is as much landscape as architecture and thus fosters public awareness and engagement with the arts. Generous windows at street level provide the public a glimpse of the scenery workshop activities. The building still finds an audience with public who are not opera, ballet or orchestra fans. The cafes and gift shop, with their access to the waterfront are destinations which offer opportunities to generate revenue for the institution while providing a general public amenity. Care was taken with the design of these components so that they are seamlessly integrated into the overall character of the building’s bold design."

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