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Snøhetta to design Shanghai Grand Opera House

The Opera House is part of a new urban master plan for Shanghai.

August 23, 2019 |
Aerial view of shanghai grand opera house

All images courtesy Snøhetta

Snøhetta recently won an international design competition for the Shanghai Grand Opera House in Shanghai, China. The Oslo-based firm has developed the architectural, landscape, interior, and graphic design for the project, which will be undertaken in partnership with ECADI.

The 134,000-sm Opera House will be built in the Expo Houtan neighborhood. The sweeping form of the building is meant to embody the concept of movement while the helical roof surface evokes an unfolding fan. The radial movements of the roof form a spiraling staircase that connects the sky and the ground. The spiraling, fanning design extends throughout the project into the lobby, halls, and the three auditoriums.


Shanghai Opera rooftop stairs


A 2,000-seat main auditorium, packed with technology and superior acoustics, rests at the heart of the project. A 1,200-seat second auditorium offers a more intimate setting for smaller productions while a 1,000-seat third auditorium includes a flexible stage and seating for experimental performances, meant to attract a new generation of opera goers. Additionally, the roof will become an accessible stage and meeting place for large-scale events and everyday visitors. A series of restaurants, galleries, exhibitions, museums, education centers, libraries, and small cinemas will also be included.


Shanghai Grand Opera House profile


Oak wood forms the main floors of the galleries and the interior of the hall to ensure good acoustic properties. The wood is stained in hues of dark red in the hall itself. Large glass panes open up the main hall to natural light that changes the experience inside the building at different times of day or from season to season. Exterior lights change the appearance of the stage towers at night to create glowing lanterns that illuminate the roof and skyline.


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The Shanghai Grand Opera House is slated for completion in 2023.


Shanghai Opera House spiral staircase


Inside shanghai grand opera house lobby


Interior shanghai grand opera house

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