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Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

China Architecture News - Apr 3, 2019 - 05:48   1987 views

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

World renowned Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta has released design for the new Shanghai Grand Opera House in Shanghai, China. The new building, aiming to attract a younger audience for experimental performances, will feature a sculptural staircase connected to the roof the structure. The elegant spiral staircase turns into a grand avenue for the new public space on the ground floor. 

Intended to attract a broad audience through offering both traditional and Chinese opera performances, classical concerts and more experimental performances for a younger audience, the new Opera House is expected to become one of the major cultural landmarks of Shanghai – the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan names it as the most important initiative to strengthen Shanghai’s cultural and global influence.

Video courtesy of Snøhetta

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

Snøhetta will develop architectural, landscape, interior, and graphic designs for the Opera, and the project will be undertaken in partnership with Shanghai-based architects ECADI.

The new Opera House will be built in the Expo Houtan neighborhood, located at the convex bank in the riverside area near Huangpu River. The neighborhood, which will have an ecological and low-carbon profile, emphasizes the Opera’s mission of being a public and open venue. 

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

Snøhetta conceived the radial layout of the surrounding landscapes to harmonize 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 designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

"The Shanghai Grand Opera House is a natural progression of our previous work with designing performing arts centers," said Snøhetta Founder Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. 

"It is a culmination of the competence and insight gained through projects such as the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Busan Opera House in South Korea, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Canada, and the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers renovation in Paris." 

"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," he added.

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

Designed to bring artists and the public under a shared roof, Snøhetta designed a sweeping form for the new Opera House embodying the concept of movement. 

The helical roof surface evokes an unfolding fan, capturing the dynamism of dance and the human body. Generating both surface and space, the radial movements of the roof form a spiraling staircase that connects ground and sky and creates views towards the city and the Huangpu river banks. 

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

The spiraling, fanning motions extend throughout the project, into the lobby, the halls, and the three auditoriums. The Opera House’s visual identity also references the same movements, with the new, clean logo characterized by a highly recognizable open fan pattern.

The Opera's roof will become an accessible stage and meeting place, suitable to both large-scale events and everyday visitors. In celebrating both the collective and the individual, the plaza will allow visitor access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, engendering a sense of public ownership. A series of restaurants, galleries, exhibitions, museums, education centers, libraries and small cinemas will all contribute to the Opera becoming a popular destination.

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

At the heart of the Opera is the 2,000-seat main auditorium: a finely tuned instrument that offers state-of-the-art technical solutions and superior acoustics. The 1,200-seat second stage will offer a more intimate setting for smaller productions. The 1,000-seat third stage offers a flexible stage and seating arrangement, providing space for more experimental and unique performances, aiming to attract a new generation of opera goers.

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

The white Opera exterior stands in contrast to the soft silk used for the interior lining. Oak wood forms the main floors of the galleries and the interior of the hall, ensuring good acoustic properties. In the hall itself, the wood is stained in hues of dark red. 

Expansive glass panes open up the main hall to natural light, which transforms the experience of the building throughout the day and from season to season. At night, exterior lights change the appearance of the stage towers, transforming them into glowing lanterns, illuminating the roof and skyline.

Snøhetta designs Shanghai Grand Opera House with sweeping form and sculptural staircase

The Shanghai Grand Opera House will be a world-class venue, placing the visitor at the center of the stage. Through its aesthetics, functionality, as well as its cultural and ecological ambition, the Opera House will be an accessible canvas for global visitors, local citizens, and artists to fill with life and culture.

Top image © Brick Visuals

All images © MIR and Snøhetta unless otherwise stated.

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