Busan Opera House
Architects at international office Sériès et Sériès believe that experiencing the drama of opera must begin with its vessel and therefore they advocate new role of opera house in creating a dramatic experience that begins before the curtains draw open and lasts well after. The Opera today not only represents cultural identity but is there to create and shape growing cultural awareness. It is no longer just a passive playground for elite but an interactive experience, responsive to our aspirations and expectations. It is place to meet and socialize in a common cultural context, a spectacle that requires whole new attractive, open and inviting typology.
Their competition proposal for Busan Opera House in South Korea aimed to create an “anomaly” in the sky – through the strategic use of standard building materials, the orientation of the masses and the deployment of specific programmatic sections. Desired castle in the sky is wrapped in a pattern of laminated, mirrored glass panels, creating continuum of illusions – of the public slipping beneath the sky and the building being erased by its own skin.
Back of the theater and a rooftop castle, packed with public program, cantilever over the edge of the reflective volume. Single interruption of the continuous façade evokes curiosity – mirrored body is broken only once in order to direct the flow to the deep, cave-like space of the lobby.
Sériès et Sériès’s scheme for Opera house competition maximizes open space at an urban scale, by consolidating the program under one roof. The outcome is an attractive destination, vanishing masterpiece offering recreational space, landmark architecture and views of a coastal landscape.
Staring at the horizon, my eyes captivated by a stormy sky which seemed on the verge of falling into pieces. Suddenly, something captured my attention; something strange, something abnormal. A group of buildings, which could only be understood as otherworldly. It appeared there was a castle floating in the sky. Barely visible at first, then clearly appea- ring, triumphant , mysterious, awe-inspiring!
We believe that experiencing the drama of opera must begin with its vessel. Thus, creating a dramatic experience that begins before the curtains draw open and lasting well after is the role of the opera house. Through the strategic use of standard building materials, the orientation of the main building mass and the deployment of specific programmatic masses we believe an awe-inspiring architecture can result –from common architectural elements, we can create an anomaly in the sky.
The effect of the castle in the sky begins with simple building materials. The three facades of the main triangular buil- ding mass are clad in a basic diagrid pattern of laminated mirrored glass panels. The mirrored panel is hung in front of the curtain wall’s substrate. With seams minimized, the effect is a continuous mirrored plane. By canting the skin slight- ly, the sky is reflected and duplicated in the facades. At once the effect of a continuous mirrored body conveys both the illusion of the public slipping beneath the sky and the building’s mass erased by it’s own skin.
Selected programmatic masses then break through the facade and cantilever over the edge of the mirrored vo- lume –such as the back of a theatre, and a rooftop castle packed with public program. A glowing orb marks the Opera in the night as a beckon for the arts. The effect is an architectural anomaly. From each vantage point, each one of these programmatic elements are made to look complete by their reflection, creating the illusion of masses floating amongst the clouds.
Finally, the pure mirrored body is broken once, indexing the lobby, to reveal a deep cave-like space. On the exterior, this singular interruption in the facade is demarcated to evoke curiosity rather than to simply mark the grand lobby-as if there were a tear in the sky.
Inexorably attracted, I began walking toward the direction of my supernatural apparition. And then, it was as if the sky itself was beginning to be inhabited by a secret force. As if cut in its middle, splitting itself into opposite directions, torn away into two separate plans, with the clouds, somehow, reflecting on one another.