Oslo's new signature
The choice of the newly inaugurated Oslo Opera House for the conference profile is not made by chance. Not yet as famous as its cousin in Sydney, and not as iconographic as the Holmenkollen ski jump or the City Hall, the Opera will be the future signature of the capital. Most importantly, though, the Opera has a strong resemblance with packed ice.
An impression of sea ice is created by the form of building, by the fact that the lower roof extends into the water and foremost by the choice of material: bright and white Italian marble.
Strangely enough the idea of ice is not part of the concept developed by the architects - the world renowned firm Snohetta. (Read about the concept in Architecture Daily.)
Architecture is art, and as such open to interpretations. Even Snohetta admits that the building is "allowing a variety of experiences as one move past it". The manipulated photo of the building and its environment is adding a new dimension. In our context the Opera House becomes is a symbol of the meeting of ice and ocean. In addition this conference will bring together the Arctic and Antarctica, symbolized by two animals that never meet - and definitely not in the harbour of Oslo.
- I am in love, writes Richard Morrison in The Times. - She's Norwegian, gorgeous, full of fun, yet with surprising hidden depths. Quite literally so, since her lower limbs are permanently submerged in the sea. No, she's not a mermaid. She's the new Oslo Opera House, an amazing marble and granite vision that rises out of the fjord like a giant ice floe.
The "roofscape" of the building is open to the public and this accessibility is quite unique. On the top of the building there are fine views of the fjord and city. The horizontal terraces and sloping planes immediately became a favourite place for afternoon walks. - The democratic symbolism of that gesture is itself symbolic of the way in which the public has been involved in this project from the start, writes Richard Morrison in The Times.
- I could rave on and on about other aspects of the building, he continues. - The acoustics of the main auditorium are stunning: a luxurious 1.9-second reverberation, unprecedented in an opera house. And when you step into the theatre's heart - in contrast to all the dazzling marble outside - you are suddenly plunged into a world of oak, stained in a multitude of rich hues. It's as if a majestic tree has been embedded deep inside a glacier.
Oslo's new signature is the largest cultural building erected in Norway since the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim was built between 1070 and 1300. The opera covers 4 soccer fields, has 1100 rooms, and seats 1750 in one large and one smaller performance auditorium.
Last updated: 11.11.2009