The iceberg-shaped Oslo Opera House
The Oslo Opera House is the centerpiece of a massive redevelopment project of Oslo’s waterfront. Following the lead of other Scandinavian cities, Oslo decided to step up their architecture game and completely remodel Bjørvika, a former industrial site in the city centre overlooking the Oslofjord.
The building was designed to resemble an iceberg floating in the waters of the fjord. When approaching it by boat, the building angled white exterior appears to rise from the water, connecting the fjord and the urban landscape. In the summer the white marble shines beautifully in contrast to the blue water and sky. In the winter the water of the fjords freezes, the building looks like a man-made iceberg.
Even if opera is not your thing, I think you should visit it. This is more than just an opera house. The idea of the designers was to build a social democratic monument. This is a public place where people go to admire the view, sunbathe, relax and get together.
Visitors are encouraged to climb its roof all year round. The building was designed to be accessible during all seasons. Once you are up there, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Oslo and the Oslofjord.
There’s nothing special about the main entrance to the Opera House, but once you enter the building, you see yourself in a huge inner space with unusual surfaces. The windows play a big role in the project flooding the space with natural sunlight. They are 15 m high, and they contrast with an enormous wooden structure – The Wave Wall.
The Wave Wall curves up through the center of the hall and provides access to the upper levels of the building. On the opposite side of the Wave Wall, there’s another kind of wall. A perforated cladding covered with green lights that give access to the toilets and coat room. To create such a surprising space, the architects at Snøhetta worked with different artists.
There are guided tours in Norwegian and English for those interested in knowing more about the building.
The Bjørvika area is changing rapidly and becoming more beautiful every day. Its full completion in 2025 will also include a huge pedestrian space, apartments, offices, and several urban parks. What was once an industrial area of railway lines is destined to become the cultural center of Oslo.