Russian architect, Ayrat Khusnutdinov, shared with us his proposal for the Busan Opera House. The main idea behind the design was the outstanding natural environment: the sea and the mountains are features that are reflected in this project. They, not architecture, are prime actors in this scene; this is the reason why so much attention was paid to let people enjoy them, here the architecture is just a frame that defines this great picture. More images and architects’ description after the break.
As the largest port city in South Korea and the fifth largest port in the world, Busan is a gate for sea farers of the country. The city is located on the southeastern-most tip of the Korean peninsula; it is situated among a number of narrow valleys between the Nakdong River and Suyeong River, with mountains separating some of the districts. The site is located at one of the most densely built-up areas of the city on an artificial island which is under construction now.
The notion that a building can be a musical instrument itself being a magnet of public activity is one of the steering wheels of the proposal. The undulating structure behaves like a ballet dancer creating different scenic effects, closing the space and opening it in its climax on the shoreline. Its dramatic pleats are synonymous with behavior of the stormy sea and crescendos of opera music.
In one broad architectural gesture, this fluid surface establishes formal continuity from the park through the canal to the artificial island, and unites numerous program elements of the project. Its different parts can simultaneously serve both roles – a stage and an auditorium, intermix of these relationships creates a feeling of permanent play on this stage – life. The ideas materialized in our proposal would complement the existing projection of Busan sea-shore redevelopment, and would be the centerpiece of its marine-culture district.
The grandiose triangular inner space of the opera house complex is a celebration of the notion what architecture should be – not an object in space but a group of objects creating the space: the space for relaxation and entertainment in view of the great asset of the city of Busan – the sea. This gesture is made to create a cultural sea gate of Busan. The space would protect visitors from the noise of the city and create a microcosm of its own, serving as both connective tissue and vibrant public space. On one hand, the fluid structure creates dramatic effects and on the other it serves its functions: a façade of the opera house, a square, a bridge, and an entrance canopy. The space created by the undulating structure defines the arena, which would be used for open-air festivals, concerts etc. The multifunctional music hall with an option of open-air performances is one of the features of the project, this is due to its high performance undulating glass façade that can be opened during a festival that would bring more opportunities for people to enjoy the music. The site strategy thus synthesizes the programmatic, physical, and infrastructural complexities to connect the surrounding urban development and create a coherent sense of place.
On a functional level, the project complements its context with the recreation – entertainment areas at its edges. The ground level of the building features a series of public spaces. The plaza is represented by opportunities for public activity: there is a 200 seat outdoor performance area, a café and a gift shop. The slightly inclined square achieves the effect of an open view of the sea, and on the other hand it accommodates most of mechanical, storage and rehearsal areas underneath it. The central atrium functions as the opera’s main lobby—the heart of the project. The entry lobby maximizes the building’s function as a social and gathering space. The public plaza’s prominent position and the atrium’s transparent façade afford captivating vistas of the sea. Glazed exterior escalators soar 20 meters from the main lobby to the entertainment-shopping area providing spectacular views on the plaza. The triangular cuts of the undulating structure open the spaces underneath it to the daylight, revealing also the round shape of the opera hall – the centerpiece of the project and a beehive of public activity. On the ground level these cuts would achieve our intention to bring to the public the process of preparation for the performance, which is in itself a fascinating show. By inserting these supporting spaces underneath the plaza we freed up the southern part of the site to create a park there. The fluid structure serves also as a bridge connecting the artificial island with the harbor.
The cantilevering glass structures above the sea are arranged in the form of a fantail includes a café, a restaurant, and a lounge bar and a shopping mall with a green area above them. Shaded by the greenery, these spaces provide an outdoor gathering space that is pleasant to use throughout the year. The cantilevers would identify the presence of this new important public venue in the cityscape.
Techniques used in the proposal would help it to achieve a high standard of energy efficiency. The planar, clear-glazed north façade maximizes interior exposure to year-round natural daylight. The thick undulating structure would work as a perfect isolator to minimize heat gain and glare and maximize energy efficiency.