Portside opera house to link mountains and coastline with 'landmark' design
An invited competition to design a recognisable world-class opera house in the South Korean-city of Busan has been won by Norwegian firm Snohetta. The brief requested architects to imagine a symbolic landmark on a 34,928 sq m site located at the northern seaport of Jung-gu, facing out towards the sea.
Snohetta’s concept draws links between the ocean and mountains through immense panels of glass which give clear sight-lines to either landscape, blending the boundaries of interior and exterior space. Integrating the new Opera House into the existing landscape is magnified by the team’s decision to evoke natural elements in their interior design, the bands of seating within the main auditorium reminiscent of the rings of an aging tree.
This imagery is continued into the circulation spaces as the wooden ribbons extend outwards into the social areas with subtly-lit bands which lead into the main opera theatre. These warm wooden components are counteracted by the large glass sheets which enable visitors to the Busan Opera House to enjoy uninterrupted views out over the landscape.
Externally the building takes a ‘X’ shape with smoothly curved lines echoing the waves which lap the neighbouring shore. Pedestrians will also be able to travel up to the roof of the building, through which an illuminated bulb will emerge.
Snohetta says of their vision: “An excellently accessible and democratic space. A space where the ground meets the sky; the mountain meets the horizon; the city meets the ocean and Busan meets the world. The opera in Busan will mark a paradigm shift for urban cultural space: from static object to the dynamic space; from the closed container to the open stage; from the passive to interactive; from an elitist monument to a democratic arena; from a pace for a few to a place for many.”