Busan Opera House Proposal / PAPER | TOTEMENT

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

The shaping concept of the buildings for the Busan Opera House by PAPER | TOTEMENT is based on placing simple forms together with their capacities and location determined by their functional tasks. The outside shape of the achieved agglomerate is made by cutting off the surpluses to make a cube form put on its edge. The aesthetics of the given object depends neither on a separate turn of any of its parts nor on their size or quantity, but is defined by a lot of similar but different elements with its external shape of an ideal Platon body in an unusual twist. More images and architects’ description after the break.

A tremendous sign, a bright image, a new form, an extreme individuality, the main element of an urban cluster, a shape, absorbing plenty of concepts with the basic one of an idea of division without separation, merging of diverse – external and internal, elementary (the external cube-shape) and complicated (the internal structure of the building), reflective (texture of outside surfaces – metal sheet) and absorbing (the red color of the internal structure, drawing attention of an observer), horizontal and vertical lines having changed their location in space in the course of a new form creation game.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

Inverse concepts, merging in a single form, create an image of Life Harmony where all live nearby and nothing matters much, where a strong form is simple just outwardly and the internal knows its limits, where plenty of differences have been united by a common idea and are ready to cooperation, merging and mutual penetration.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

An elementary form of a cube placed at one of the corners – a spatial hieroglyph, is revetted outside by metal sheets, reflecting the Earth and the water by its bottom facets, and the sky and the sun by its top ones and uniting in itself all the four elements of the world, the top and the bottom, presenting its inner space to a man, a game of life, a theatre.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

A visitor, travelling from level to level and finding himself on internally-external spaces, has an opportunity to observe the inner life of the building. Some of ballet classes and rehearsal rooms, kitchens of restaurants and stage designers’ studios, stages, offices and some warehouse facilities open over here. All this tells about enormous efforts of hundreds of people creating a fascinating show – theatre.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

Open stages – amphitheaters soaring between the Heaven and the Earth, observation decks, accessible to everyone and located at every level of the building, including the main one at the top of it, fascinating ocean and city views, an unforgettable journey inside the game cube, transfer from facet to facet, from level to level, from Internal to External is an overture to the basic show which awaits for the spectator in the very center of the cube, – where the show, the game begins.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

Plenty of visual associations: a faceted crystal, a blooming flower, a «pagoda without the socle – allow a spectator to memorize an image of the building for long. This feature allows to rearrange capacities if necessary by updating the project specification and keeping the initial image of the building completely. The absence of the main facade allows to watch the building from all points of view equally, which is extremely important for an object-landmark. The building has the same shape both for a sea and a city traveller, who has find out himself on the new Buzan embankment.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

The cube is located in the center of an artificial reservoir, its supporting corner plunges into the water and makes the impression that this unbelievable construction has no support at all with the water horizontal line marking inclined sides. The water surface is cut through by three apertures-pictograms from which water pours into the pools of enclosed courts located under the reservoir. The enclosed courts have leisure facilities, cafes, theatre box-offices, stores and small theatre shops. Visitors can get into these courts directly from the embankment or just walking along the ramps cutting the reservoir through.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

Two bridges connect the platform to the city: transport&footbridge at the northwest which gives an access to cargo facilities located under the reservoir and close to the supporting point of the cube (nucleus) with vertical transport. Also there is an entrance with an U-turn, able to receive theatre stuff transport and (or) buses with tourist groups as well as physically challenged people. The second western bridge – is the main entrance to the theatre territory. From the embankment area it rises to the theater lobby to the level of +13.000. While climbing it the visitors pass the construction watching the pictograms of the reservoir and making the impression of the theatre at a close distance. Also it is possible to get down to the reservoir and to the bottom bypass area walking down the footbridge and there under the shelter one can walk round the peninsular, get into courts and enter the theater.

Courtesy of PAPER | TOTEMENT

The theater lobby is a multilevel main entrance, while receiving guests it gives the opportunity to provide security control. Opposite to it there is an information desk and a theater poster /current performances announcements/, further there are toilets and a cloack-room with a ladder leading to cloack-rooms of the lower floor of the lobby. Top floors of the lobby include media library facilities, cafes, leisure areas. Visitors are lifted to the two theatre halls by escalators and panoramic lifts.

site plan

he main hall of 2000 seats – is a traditional multi-tiered opera hall. The outside surface of its balconies together with the floor, ceiling and seats are united by color and material. The inside surface of the balconies and boxes is in contrast to the outside surface and while repeating the color of the front finish /red and metal/ it creates a holiday-tense character. And if at the beginning while entering the metal cube one gets into the red space of the lobby and foyer then while entering the hall he as though once again crosses the border, but finds out himself in the internal and deeper world. Cut surfaces of the hall allow to achieve the necessary acoustic effect.

plan 01

The small hall of 1300 seats has a combined finish of wood and metal. Niches for boxes like in the big hall – are made in red. The space is closed by a vertical ring and has two lateral surfaces with the plastique of boxes and balconies. Wall ledges are directed to the scene and make the impression of a listening creature. The hall foyer – a two-level space with the top area which adjoins the outside wall and has apertures in the floor, allowing to view the landscape and the walls of the building going down.

plan 02

It is understood that the site for the opera house is to be on a reclaimed land. A substantial foundation works will likely be required due to a combination of:

plan 03

1. Special architectural shape and small base area 2. Ground settlement due to land reclamation 3. In the region of high seismicity.

The present high degree of engineering challenges is obvious. However we understand such a unique iconic architecture should make no visual compromise. From the engineering point of view we are confident the design can be realized, and be economical making use of our knowledge and strong expertise in this field.

Foundation - Deep RC raft + piles

plan 04

Lower Superstructure – Monolithic concrete - Robust raking shear walls for lateral stability - Internal walls and slabs to form egg crates in two directions and be supported by the raking shear walls - Shear walls be fully anchorage to the raft for bearing and seismic resistance - The principle is to achieve the large open volumes by walls

On top of the auditorium, we envisage a twin floor deep deck of RC slabs and walls. The deck will partially support the structures above as a transfer but crucially to cap across the shear walls below to form a rigid box.

Auditorium will be a column free volume with long span beams for the roof. The roof in this case is the twin storey deep deck as described.

Upper Superstructure – steel - To keep the weight low - Flexible in achieving the various cantilever profiles - Offering better internal penetrations for flexible floor layouts


Central cores - Two RC central cores are to be going from the ground level - They will be the structural, mechanical & electrically integrated services routes

Mechanical Taking into account remarkable architectural concept we propose to go with sustainable and innovative mechanical design approach. Apart from having conventional mechanical systems we would incorporate the following.

Displacement ventilation: We would provide displacement ventilation for the Main Hall to maximize the air distribution efficiency and reduce noise levels for greater acoustic comfort during events.

constructive scheme

Solar Heat Collectors: Usage of high-efficiency solar heat collectors for hot water production for domestic and process hot water consumption. This water would be also used for chilled water generation in absorption chillers.

Ground water energy: State-of-the-art technology is being considered to provide a base load of low energy cooling and heating to the building from groundwater. These systems are commonly referred to Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), as the ground source is coupled to a heat pump to amplify the heating/cooling capability. Coupling is achieved via a closed or open loop system.

Sea water energy: The usage of sea water for cooling/heating will help to reduce the overall energy consumption and reduce the architectural design impact.

Low pressure drop: We would go with a high-efficiency system with low energy losses to ensure as low CO2 emission of the building as possible.

functional diagrams

Resources flow control: The air and chilled/hot water volume will be controlled depending on the current load on a real-time basis to reduce total resources consumption.

Electrical: An organic building form such as this presents not only many engineering challenges, but many opportunities. Working together with the other engineers we would seek to create efficient service cores vertically through the building that would facilitate the internal spaces. Electrical power distribution would emanate from an intake substation at grade; with dual-feed capability for resilience.

In addition to power supplied from the grid, it will be possible to integrate Photovoltaic panels to the south facing elements of the building, to provide renewable electricity. We would work with the architects to ensure optimum sun angles are achieved without compromising the building aesthetic, and that tilt angles and panel coverage are efficient.

iconism diagram

The building form has much potential in terms of how it is revealed at night. It will be possible to illuminated different parts of the structure in different ways such that the building can be perceived in many different ways. The use of directional light, colour and selective illumination of different parts will create a totally dynamic building at night; which also will reflect as the adjacent water acts as a mirror; thus the building will remain an icon at night also.

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About this author
Cite: Alison Furuto. "Busan Opera House Proposal / PAPER | TOTEMENT" 11 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/167690/busan-opera-house-proposal-paper-totement> ISSN 0719-8884

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