Last weekend I headed to Oslo for a little mini break. Everyone told me “Alice, you must see the Opera House!” and I have to confess I did secretly think “Maybe… if I’ve got nothing better to do!” But thank goodness I listened to you all and that my cultural conscience got the better of me.
Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta and opened in 2008 the marble clad roofscape is the first feature that strikes you. It forms a large public space and makes this the first opera house in the world to let visitors walk and enjoy concerts on the roof. The Italian marble used, La Facciata, is so striking because it retains its brilliance and colour even when wet.
Secondly it is the beautiful glass that combined with the four free internal standing volumes, makes you feel like you a walking into a large glacier surrounded by ice crystals.
The third material used, and possibly my favourite, is the Oak timber that forms a complex organic geometric structure that wraps itself around the heart of the building. The use of wood creates an intimate feeling in contrast to the stark open, white foyer.
All of this for a mere €500 million and five years of building – well worth it Norway!