As I wrote back in Janurary with ‘Oslo delights begin‘ I had the was lucky enough to be taken to Oslo with my new office karlsson wachenfedlt arkitecture. Undoubebly the main attraction of this trip was always going to be the Olso Opera House by Snohetta. As an Australian this white jewel on the water front standing proudly as an icon of the new Oslo instantly reminded me of the Sydney Opera House, not in form but in colour for one! and also in the way that the building welcomes the public in and onto it. The entire roof is one huge marble public square, allowing the public to wander over it, peer into in and look back and the new emerging Oslo around it. As a member of the public the opera house presents itself as an ice berg rising out of the frozen water ( did i mention it was -10deg celcius when we were there). The sloping ‘ice’ plane allows visitors to easily walk onto and around this huge complex. Giving ownership of the open space to the public and not separating off this space for the lucky few who are able to attend events within.
As if stepping through a crack in the ice you enter a cavernous lobby space with crystalline boxes, which it turns out are the toilets. But the overriding element is the huge curving timber mass sitting within, which houses the performance halls. The timber cladding and soft indirect lighting give a welcoming warm feeling as you wind your way around it’s curves to your door. This is in stark contrast to the hard marble and glass of the remaining sections of the public areas.
Obviously budget wasn’t of any concern on this project, Noway being flush with oil money, but there is a distinct lack of ‘in your face flash’ or ‘show’ which could have so easily crept into a project of this size and budget. The architects have stayed true to their relatively simple material pallet of marble, glass and timber and strong design elements.
It really is one of the great buildings I’ve visited and will no doubt continue to amaze long into the future. I hope you enjoy my photo’s as I tried to capture the scale and subtleties of this building.