Designed in 1983 by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, the Opéra Bastille is the largest opera house in Paris and a significant cultural landmark. Situated between the historic Place de la Bastille square and the Viaduc des Arts gardens, the postmodernist building demands attention in its urban context but has also aged in the three decades since its inauguration in 1989.
A one-year architectural competition held by the Opéra Bastille has now selected Henning Larsen, in collaboration with Reichen & Robert, dUCKS, PEUTZ & CET, to design the institution's expansion and transformation.
"The redesign establishes a dual-level ‘indoor street’ in the foyer, providing a more inclusive commons for civic life," explains the project description. "Behind the scenes, an extensive transformation of workshop and construction facilities aims to boost productivity and quality of life for the Opéra Bastille’s set and costume crews. Along the Viaduc des Arts, the Opéra Bastille explores the threshold between the natural and urban environments. Following the original vision of Carlos Ott, the extension will create a smooth architectural transition toward the gardens, allowing the Viaduc des Arts’ greenery to flow into the built environment."
"Our goal is to fulfil the original vision and potential for the Opéra Bastille in a way that honors and accents the existing architecture," said Søren Øllgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen. "We want to open the opera up to its surroundings in this busy area of Paris, and to make it a local hotspot of urban social life. For us, this is an opportunity to bring new life to a city landmark in a way that blends our own architectural identity with Carlos Ott’s legacy."
"Henning Larsen’s vision incorporates a Scandinavian emphasis on sustainable materials and democratic design into the architectural fabric of Ott’s original blueprints. Franck Fdida, a Paris native, will head the Henning Larsen project team in close collaboration with Reichen & Robert architects, dUCKS scenographic lighting specialists, PEUTZ acoustic consultants, and CET Engineering."
Construction will already begin this year, and final completion is expected by 2023.
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