by teddy tavares
The Oslo Opera House (in Norwegian, Operahuset) is the seat of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway. The building lies in Bj??rvika, in the center of Oslo, at the head of the Oslofjord. Its builder was Statsbygg, a government-run property owner. The architects were the Norwegian firm Sn??hetta who were also the architects of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (the Library of Alexandria) in Egypt. The theatre designers were Theatre Projects Consultants based in London, the acoustic designers were BrekkeStrandArup, a joint venture between local consultant Brekke Strand Akustikk and international acousticians Arup Acoustics. Norwegian construction company Veidekke was awarded one of the largest building contracts of the project. The structure provides a total area of 38,500 m?? and includes 1,100 rooms, one of which has 1,350 seats and another has up to 400 seats. Total expenditures for the building project were planned at 4.4 billion NOK, but finished ahead of schedule, and 300 million NOK under budget.
The Opera House was finished in 2007 with the opening event held on 12 April 2008. King Harald V of Norway opened the Opera House that evening at a gala performance attended by national leaders and royalty, including President Tarja Halonen of Finland, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The main stage is 16 meters wide, and can be made up to 40 meters deep.
The Opera won the culture award at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in October 2008. Jury member Sir Peter Cook said of the Opera House that it "...in its scale, ambition and quality has raised the bar for Norwegian architecture."1
In April 2009, the Opera House was pronunced the winner of the 2009 Mies van der Rohe award, the European Union prize for contemporary architecture.