1. Click image to expand

    Henning Larsen has designed the expanded French Opéra Bastille. Picture: Henning Larsen

  2. Click image to expand

    Henning Larsen has designed the expanded French Opéra Bastille. Picture: Henning Larsen

  3. Click image to expand

    Henning Larsen has designed the expanded French Opéra Bastille. Picture: Henning Larsen

  4. Click image to expand

    Henning Larsen has designed the expanded French Opéra Bastille. Picture: Henning Larsen

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Opéra Bastille expansion for Paris

Magda Ibrahim
13 Mar 2019

Danish architecture practice Henning Larsen has been selected for the expansion of the French Opéra Bastille.

Henning Larsen’s proposal includes a redesigned and extended public foyer open to street-level activity and adds an 800-seat modular space for use in rehearsals and performances. 

The design, created with collaborators Reichen & Robert, dUCKS, PEUTZ & CET, also expands infrastructure and workshop facilities. 

Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott originally designed the Opéra Bastille in 1983, part of France’s Grands Projets initiative to construct new cultural monuments in Paris. 

Located between the historic Place de la Bastille square and the Viaduc des Arts gardens, Henning Larsen’s expansion draws from this local context, seeking to put the opera in closer dialogue with its surroundings. 

“Our goal is to fulfil the original vision and potential for the Opéra Bastille in a way that honours 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.” 

The redesign establishes a dual-level ‘indoor street’ in the foyer, providing a more inclusive commons for civic life. 

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. 

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 on the Opéra Bastille expansion and transformation will begin in 2019, with a final project completion scheduled for 2023.

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