Busan Opera House Winning Proposal / Snøhetta

  • 17 Oct 2012
  • by
  • Cultural
Courtesy of Snøhetta

Snøhetta was recently selected as the winner of the Busan Opera House Competition in with their ‘Unpacking the Box’ concept. Their proposal is conceived not as frozen music but rather as an instrument, upon which we can play. This instrument is neither a white cube nor a black box, empty devoid of expression; this Opera building outward expresses the values and ethos of the place and content. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Snøhetta

The Opera in Busan is no longer just a place to see and be seen but a place to meet. A place to be together, in our common cultural context. A place to be alone together, the singular in the plural, and above all a place to meet ourselves in a wider collective consciousness. At the Opera in Busan you will experience the real thing. Not copies, icons and symbols but the real thing, and the real thing is much bigger, brighter and louder than you could ever imagine. This is the prerogative of the Opera and what sets it aside from our commercial and urban landscapes.

Courtesy of Snøhetta

Growing from the inside out, the Opera in Busan sets demands on its thresholds and boundaries, the box must be opened, blurring the definition of inside and outside, private and public, intimate and monumental. The Opera is designed to be exceptionally accessible in the urban context, not just physically accessible but visually accessible, and above all mentally accessible. The spaces it describes are democratic, open to all 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Courtesy of Snøhetta

The Opera is located at the very point where the mountain descends to meets the sea and the vertical is enveloped by the horizon. The four corners of the building connect the city and the cultural landmark to the sea. Two of these corners are lifted to form an entrance from the city and an entrance from the sea. These entrances are linked in a continuous public space, flowing around the Opera house and out into the the programmatic volume and to create an exterior plane that both arches down to the City and the sea at the same time as it peels upwards to meet the sea and the sky.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Busan Opera House Winning Proposal / Snøhetta" 17 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=283592>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Come on… This is too similar to Paris philharmonie by Jean Nouvel!
    But Nouvel’s project is so much richer than this
    Disappointing winner!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +8

    Actually, because of the context is some kindda mix between the Paris Philarmonie and the Oslo Opera House

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +9

    Wow! Big up to Snohetta!!

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Are people walking on water in the second image? Maybe not…maybe the sea freezes over during the fall.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Absolutely boring! Almost the same project like the Oslo Opera house! If we can say it was “suitable” for a climate like the the one in Oslo they forgot we are not in the land of white snow in Busan! The project didn’t take any advantage of the context, the beautiful vue or the presence of the sea. What we have is yet another box “embellished” by a seen all over strange curve-ski-slope-shape packing, that can be buil anywhere! There is no interaction between the inside and the outside, the public space is treated in a poor manner, easily filled with water and empty esplanade as always! There is nothing left to be liked nor admired in this architecture, it is just another testimony of the poverty of the mass contemporary architecture and his lack of ideas and reflection!

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