Henning Larsen Architects snatches another opera house

Having designed more than 50 operas and concert halls, the Danish firm is currently working on the development of one in Yuhang in eastern China.

The Yuhang district just north of Chinese city of Hangzhou is developing a cultural center consisting of two museums, an art school, retail stores and a theatre. But at its heart will lie an opera house designed by Henning Larsen Architects. Sharing similar characteristics to the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen, the few images released show the site to be on a waterfront and as a focal point the new urban area.


Protruding out into a lake, a sloping facade of sharp triangulated openings allows daylight to flood into the large auditorium. This space was particularly important in the design of the building. In the words of the architect, “light footbridges and balconies in the grand foyer of the Copenhagen Opera form the architectural answer to this staging of human interaction, providing points from which guests can watch each other and become part of the social event of going to the theatre. This unifying, active foyer space is conceptually repeated in the Yuhang opera, though through a different architectural idiom.”


Additionally, the site includes a large recreational park that will encircle the lake, and will not only provide supplementary spaces for leisure, but will also showcase the Yuhang Opera in a variety of views. This is in contrast to the Copenhagen Opera (that’s celebrating it’s tenth anniversary), whose design is more formally viewed on an axis. The architects also state that instead of acting as one component in a dense new urban area, the new building will be integrated more with the surrounding cultural sites. M


By Samer Khudairi

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