Henning Larsen has been selected to expand and transform the French Opéra Bastille, the largest opera house in Paris. Designed with collaborators Reichen et Robert & Associés, dUCKS Scéno, Peutz & Associés Acoustic Consultants and CET Ingénierie, the proposal includes a redesigned and extended public foyer that will open to street-level activity, as well as expanded infrastructure and workshop facilities, and the addition of a new 800-seat auditorium for use as rehearsal and performance space.
The win follows a one-year competition arranged by the Opéra Bastille, which sought to complete the original vision for the 1989 building, now the main facility of the Paris National Opera. Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott designed the Opéra Bastille in 1983, part of France’s Grands Projects initiative to construct new cultural monuments in Paris. Located between the historic Place de la Bastille square and the Viaduc des Arts gardens, the opera is a landmark in Paris’ bustling 12th arrondissement.
Søren Øllgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen, said that the expanded Opéra Bastille will be a conduit of urban life in one of Paris’ most populous districts. “The goal is to fulfill the original vision for the Opéra Bastille in a way that honors and accents the existing architecture. The building will be opening up to its surroundings in this busy area of Paris, and to make it a local hotspot of urban social life. This is an opportunity to bring new life to a city landmark in a way that blends our own architectural identity with Carlos Ott’s legacy.”
Following the original vision of Carlos Ott, the extension will create a smooth architectural transition toward the gardens, allowing the Viaduc des Arts’ greenery to flow into the built environment. The redesign establishes a dual-level ‘indoor street’ in the foyer, providing a more inclusive commons for civic life. The project includes an extensive renovation of workshop and construction facilities for the Opéra Bastille’s set and costume crews. As the team said, the vision incorporates a Scandinavian emphasis on sustainable materials, and democratic design into the architectural fabric of Ott’s original blueprints.
Construction on the Opéra Bastille is scheduled to begin in 2019, with anticipated completion in 2023.