Monday, August 30, 2010

Macro Monday - Oslo Opera House (Operahuset)


IMG_2836 Oslo Opera House aluminum cladding


I didn’t know what to expect, but I suppose I was thinking along the lines of the Sydney Opera House with its iconic silhouette. Thus I was surprised to see the understated presence of the Oslo Opera House, rising from the waters of the Oslofjord, blending with its environment rather than striking a new profile.

IMG_2872 Oslo Opera House

As we approached, my sister remarked, “Are there people walking on the roof?”

IMG_2827 Oslo Opera House

Indeed they were. The architects at Snøhetta created a seamless transition between the ground level and the rooftop. I quickened my pace, wanting to claim that I effortlessly scaled the building to the roof like Spiderman.

IMG_2828 Oslo Opera House roof

The white Carrara marble’s rough texture provided enough friction to comfortably climb the incline.

I imagined that if this building was built in California, the building codes would have forced unsightly railings in all places where there might be a remote chance that someone may get hurt. Here in Oslo, a mere small sign gave a cautionary warning.

At the top I was faced with a stark white synthetic snowscape glistening in the sun.

IMG_2834 Oslo Opera House

The aluminum-clad building looked like a cubic igloo...


IMG_2844 Oslo Opera House

... of grand proportion.

IMG_2841 Oslo Opera House

A closer look revealed that the aluminum is punched with a pleasing pattern of concave conical dimples and convex hemispherical blisters...

IMG_2846 Oslo Opera House aluminum cladding

... each contributing to a texture of shadows.

IMG_2840 Oslo Opera House aluminum cladding

Turning the corner, I took in the view of the Oslofjord where a giant cruise ship towered over the waterfront...

IMG_2847 from Oslo Opera House sooc

...and a stately double-masted schooner motored out, proudly waving its Norwegian banner:

IMG_2851 Helena in Oslofjord

Monica Bonvicini’s glass sculpture “She Lies” floated at the head of the fjord...

IMG_2850 She Lies reflection

...and pivoted on her axis to show her many angles:

IMG_2856 She Lies - Oslofjord

IMG_2857 She Lies - Oslofjord detail

 “Das Eismeer” (1823-1824) by Caspar David Friedrich



At first glance, I thought the sculpture looked like a schooner with her sails unfurled. I later learned that Venice-born Bonvicini won the international competition by using a famous German Romantic Landscape painting “Das Eismeer” (1823-1824) by Caspar David Friedrich as inspiration.

This ambitious installation is strong enough to withstand the harsh elements of the Norwegian winters.




As I descended back to the ground level, I enjoyed seeing the reflection of the traditional silhouettes on the waterfront onto the ultra-modern sleek glass surface of the Opera House.

IMG_2861 Oslo Opera House reflections

The Oslo Opera House is meant to be the anchor to spur on urban revitalization. While it's well on its way...

IMG_2873 Oslo Opera House waterfront under construction

...I hope to come back one day to see the vision set forth by the architects at Snøhetta come to fruition.

Copyright: Snøhetta for Statsbygg.


See other Macro Monday posts at Lisa's Chaos.

Update: To see some great interior shots of the Operahuset, go to Ginnie's blog post here.
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