Following an international design competition, Snøhetta has been commissioned to design the Shanghai Grand Opera House in Shanghai, China.
The project aims to attract a broad audience through a blend of traditional and Chinese opera performances, classical concerts and more experimental performances that will appeal to a younger audience.
Snøhetta has developed the architectural, landscape, interior, and graphic design for the Opera, and the project will be undertaken in partnership with Shanghai-based architects ECADI.
“The Shanghai Grand Opera House is a natural progression of our previous work with designing performing arts centers,” explains 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.
“A series of restaurants, galleries, exhibitions, museums, education centres, libraries and small cinemas will all contribute to the Opera becoming a popular destination”
“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”.
The Opera House will be built in the Expo Houtan neighbourhood, which is located at the convex bank in the riverside area near Huangpu River. The neighbourhood, which will have an ecological and low-carbon profile, emphasises the Opera’s mission of being a public and open venue.
The Opera 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 centres, libraries and small cinemas will all contribute to the Opera becoming a popular destination.
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, while the 1,000-seat third stage offers a flexible stage and seating arrangement, providing space for more experimental and unique performances.
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.
Photography©MIR and Snøhetta