Snøhetta was recently selected as the winner of the Busan Opera House Competition in South Korea 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.
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.
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.
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.