>I’ve been in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, from Thursday to Sunday with work, and though I found it rather inspiring and marvellous, that’s not what this entry is going to be about.
On Thursday afternoon I managed to find half an hour between meetings and work socialising to do some sightseeing, and though I’ve been to Oslo numerous times with work I’ve never before found the time – or energy – to go see the new-ish opera house.
The architects behind this stunning building are Snøhetta, one of the most interesting contemporary architecture firms – in my book.
The building is overlooking the Bjørvika, a small bay in the Oslo Fjord, and it really makes the most of the connection with the water, with it’s white marble terraces sloping down into the bay.
The vast, sloping roof of the building has been clad in white marble like the walls, and on sunny days it is crowded with people lounging about on the slopes or jogging laps around the main stage tower. I love how inhabited the place is; it has become one of the most popular outdoors hang-outs in the city, taking on functions that we normally associate with parks and greenery.
Everywhere the slopes are broken up by seemingly random grooves and changes in the level so the great expanse of the roof does not become a monotone slab of marble, but rather references the irregularities of a sloping fell side. It somehow feels organic, though the exterior is composed exclusively of straight lines and hard materials.
Inside, though… The main auditorium – as in so many other opera houses – pushes out into the foyer, but while this is hardly a novel or innovative move, the handling of the surface is exquisite. Narrow strips of wood, creating a mosaic effects by their random depths that easily adapts to the curve of the wall whilst adding texture.
The next picture shows a part of the foyer that I find almost baroque, in the best possible sense. The alternation of convex and concave curves, the play with light and shadow, the sense of extravagant ornamentation through the simple material of the wood; it seems to repeat some of the main features of the Italian baroque, but in a clearly Scandinavian form language.
Anyway, if you ever find yourself in Oslo I can strongly recommend that you drop by this wonderful building. If nothing else, it’s the perfect place to relax with a cup of take-away coffee while enjoying the view out through the fjord!