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.


rochambeau said...

Wow that Oslo Opera House is SOMEthing else. I came back to give your link to Rebecca who wrote a post about an artist from Mississippi that life changed after the hurricane.

About the boat on the mini island. Ironically, I recently had a dream about one.


Jay said...

Wow, that's beautiful - and I'm not a huge fan of modern architecture! I want to climb on that roof, too! I also like the sculpture, though I prefer to see it as a schooner.

The dimples on that building remind me of braille text!

CC said...

Thanks for feeding my desire to get to Scandinavia before I die.

Sherri said...

Hope you had a great trip. Love the Opera House... very cool design!

maggie said...

Love it. Thanks for showing it off so well. There's something so organic about it.

michael said...

The opera house may not be as grand as Sydney's but it's still an amazing building.

Unknown said...

Very cool! I enjoyed the tour. You're right, if the building was in WI it would have had railings too. :( I LOVE that sculpture. :)

Unknown said...

Oooh, I would have done the same thing...walked right up that incline. So beautiful...and you're correct, if it were built anywhere in the U.S., they would have ruined it with handrails.

Gorgeous, gorgeous place. I love the water sculpture and the painting. I can just imagine the sound that ice makes when it's breaking up.

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Beautiful photos and discussion. I was really struck by the opera house, with its sleek lines and seemingly seamless transition from floor to roof. The water sculpture is also striking. I thought it was of an iceberg in the first photo and then, like you, a schooner in the second. Finding and posting the Caspar David Friedrich painting was a nice bit of artistic-architectural detective work.

Kala said...

Fabulous perspective and DoF in the first image!

Marilyn Miller said...

Gorgeous! Love the glass ship.

Ruth said...

What a concept, to let people be responsible for their own safety! :)

These art-chitectural wonders are impressive, and you did beautiful justice to them in your pictures and words. I love how the igloo, close up, looks like braille. At first, the shot of the people walking on the roof, looked like an artist's rendering.

That reflection photo of the Opera House is extraordinary.

The glass sculpture is just wonderful!

margie said...

when i look at travel photos it makes me want to pack my bag. these are great. the glass sculpture is the best.

George said...

This was a fabulous tour, illustrated by stunning photographs. The photo showing "grand proportion" is sensational, with the soaring near corner dwarfing the two figures in the distance.

It's wonderful when we can walk upon great edifices without the distraction of guardrails at every point. Some years ago, while biking across France, I climbed up and walked across the great Roman aqueduct near Arles. There were no fences, no rails, no warnings — nothing to diminish the experience. Kudos to the architects who understood that principle when the Opera House was designed. Hopefully, I will get back there to see it one day.

Ginnie said...

I have already seen so many images of this landmark, and read so much about it over at Renny's blog, DB, but this post is the best yet! That one building looks like a tribute to the Braille "language." All of it is just astounding, really. Very different from Sydney's Opera House, which I have walked around more than once. But this one can definitely hold its own, to stand the test of time as a true landmark of charm and beauty. I love it. And your photography is just awesome.

rochambeau said...

Happy Labor Day Dutchbaby!

A Cuban In London said...

I'm just overwhelmed by the sheer size of the building and the excellent quality of your photos. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Vagabonde said...

Beautiful photographs Dutch Baby of this great opera house. We walked on the roof too then had an inside tour which was quite enlightening. I’ll do a post on it later. I really enjoyed Oslo, you did too, didn’t you?

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh, my. The opera house looks very much like a ship to me. And, the glass sculpture makes me giddy. I would love, love, love to see it for myself.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Constance at rochambeau,
Thank you for visiting me twice in one post :)

I appreciate you sending me to Rebecca's. It is touching to read about the resilience of yet another who survived the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

We had a great family outing to San Francisco during Labor Day weekend. We saw the Paris Impressionist exhibit at the Palace of the Legion Honor.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Jay,
I'm glad you made an exception, perhaps you will acquire a taste for modern architecture.

The building does look like braille!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CC,
I hope to have a few more morsels to feed you in the next few posts :)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Sherri,
We did have a great trip! I loved hearing about your Flagstaff Labor Day weekend.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear maggie,
I agree. I think it's because the pattern on the aluminum is random rather than predictable.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear michael,
I can't fairly compare this with the Sydney Opera House because I've never seen it in person, but I found the experience of climbing that roof exhilarating!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisaschaos,
This is a perfect example where the public should be trusted to show good judgment. On the other hand, I remember wishing that I had some handrails, at least along the most narrowest and deadliest parts, when my son and I climbed to the top of Juana Picchu at Machu Picchu. I remember longing for safety codes during that climb.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Lorenzo,
Why thank you for recognizing my cyber-sleuthing efforts. I was thrilled to have found the Friedrich painting. I appreciated the sculpture even more when I saw Bonvicini's inspiration.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kala,
Thank you for noticing that and congratulations on your engagement!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
I love that sculpture too! I would love to see it in the winter when snow is all around the harbor.

joco said...

So glad I landed on your blog.
Great stories, wonderful photographs.
And like somebody said: thank you for making me want to go over there soon. Well, next summer. Don't care for the frozen North :-)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
It is such a shame that the U.S. has a culture of lawsuits which prompts overly cautious building codes. Walking along the incline with the unobstructed views was a true pleasure.

Several people have compared the texture of the aluminum cladding to braille. That didn't occur to me in person, but it truly does evoke that image on the photos. I did find the concave and convex surfaces to be a tactile invitation.

I was pleased as punch when I reviewed the reflection image on my camera and relieved when I saw that it was mostly in focus.

I love that glass sculpture; it looks wonderful in the harbor.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear margie,
I hope that you do get the experience of walking on the roof and seeing that beautiful sculpture in person.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear George,
Your incredibly flattering comment made my day! Thank you for taking the time to visit Dutchbaby and leaving such kind words.

My husband and I went to that aqueduct near Arles on our first trip to Europe together. I would love to go back there so that I can take some photos with more than just a tiny point-n-shoot.

Welcome to Dutchbaby! I'm thrilled that Ruth pointed me the way to your creative and intelligent blog.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
To hear Ginnie Hart say my photography is just awesome makes me proud as a peacock!

I think you're right, this site has huge potential to be an iconic world setting. I hope that the Oslo planners are able to keep the vision going.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Cuban in London,
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I wonder if your dancers from London could perform in this magnificent building?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Vagabonde,
I'm so envious you got to go inside. It was closed when we were there. Yes, all five of us loved every bit of Oslo we saw.

Ginnie said...

I had no clue I would be seeing this with my own eyes half a year after this post, DB. Thanks for adding your link to my recent post this week. It is definitely a place worth the visit on every level! And since I have been to Sydney's, I can also say it's in the competition, hands down! :)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
I am thrilled to be able to offer your inside view to Dutchbaby readers.

I think you are right, this building will stand the test of time as a classic.

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