Following an international competition, Snøhetta had the winning design for the Shanghai Grand Opera House, which is a vital component in a new urban masterplan for the city. Located in Expo Houtan, the project will allow international audiences of any age to watch both traditional and contemporary performances, from Chinese opera to classical concerts to experimental performances. A project timeline is yet to be announced.
Working with local architects ECADI, Snøhetta developed the architectural, landscape, interior, and graphic design for the Opera House.
“The radial layout of the surrounding landscapes harmonizes with the overall geometry of the Opera building, ensuring key view paths from both the Opera to the city, and from the city to the Opera,” Snøhetta says.
Its sweeping form embodies the concept of movement, and its helical roof surface resembles an unfolding fan. The radial movements of the roof form a spiraling staircase that offers views of the city and the Huangpu river. The roof will also function as a publicly accessible stage and meeting place. And there will also be restaurants, galleries, libraries, education centers, small cinemas, and other amenities on the site.
These spiraling, fanning movements can be seen in the lobby, halls, and all three auditoriums, Snøhetta says. At the center of the Opera House is the 2,000-seat main auditorium, while a 1,200-seat stage has a more intimate setting for smaller productions. The 1,000-seat stage offers flexible seating and stage arrangements suitable for a variety of experimental art performances.
In stark contrast to the building's all-white exterior, the interior floors and walls are clad with oak wood, which is stained in dark red hues on the walls. Expansive glass panes allow natural light into the building. At night, exterior lights transform the stage towers into glowing lanterns that illuminate the roof.
Snøhetta Founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen describes the project as “a natural progression” of the firm's previous experiences in designing performing arts centers. “The Shanghai Grand Opera House is a product of our contextual understanding and values, designed to promote public ownership of the building for the people of Shanghai and beyond,” Thorsen said in a statement.
Check out a video of the project below.
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