Olga at the New Oslo Opera House

My regular and recent readers know I have a distinguished guest, a real globetrotter – the one and only: Olga the Travelling Bra. As a network evangelist, I met her at her blog, invited her to Norway and now she is here with us. It gives me the chance to show Olga around – as well as the theme of my blog – and of course I’ll invite you along for the trip. So far we’ve been to The Royal Castle and The Vigeland Sculpture Park (scroll down to explore our adventures and read more of the introduction of this travelling bra!). This time we took her around Oslo’s New Opera House. The only Opera in the world where you can walk on the roof! Olga just loves to get high you know ;-) She also thinks it is fantastic to meet fellow bloggers! So since he was free, I just had to invite our good friend TorAa along too (click all pics to enlarge and enjoy):

Olga at Oslo New Opera House #1

This architectural masterpiece is located on the Bjørvika Peninsula overlooking Oslo Fjord. The government wanted the Opera House to be a landmark for Norway as a cultural nation, highlighting the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, and also the foundation for the urban redevelopment of the area. The design by Snøhetta won the international competition in 2000. Let’s take a closer look:
Olga at Oslo New Opera House #2
I guess some recognise the handsome gentleman to the right, holding Olga too: My colleague and blog friend, TorAa.

It also have been named winner in the Culture category at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF Awards) 2008. This picture might give you an idea of the reason for this award:
Olga at Oslo New Opera House #3

The conceptual basis of the competition and the final building is a combination of three elements, the ‘Wave Wall’, the ‘Factory’ and the ‘Carpet’:
The Wave Wall:
Opera and ballet are young art forms in Norway, art forms that evolve in an international setting. The Bjørvika Peninsula is part of a harbour city, historically the meeting point with the rest of the world. The dividing line between the ground ‘here’ and the water ‘there’ is both a real and a symbolic threshold.
The Factory:
The production facilities of the Opera House are realized as a self contained, rationally planned ‘Factory’. This ‘Factory’ is both functional and flexible which was very important during the planning phase where a number of rooms and room groups were adjusted in collaboration with the end users.
The Carpet:
To achieve monumentality the architects wanted to make the Opera accessible in the widest possible sense, by laying out a ‘Carpet’ of horizontal and sloping surfaces on top of the building. This ‘Carpet’ has been given an articulated form, related to the cityscape. Monumentality is achieved through horizontal extension and not verticality.

For the Opera House three main materials were specified at the competition entry. White stone for the ‘carpet’ (marble), timber for the ‘Wave Wall’ and metal for the ‘Factory’. As work continued glass was introduced, allowing the underside of the “carpet” to be visible.

While listening and exploring, Olga was more and more interested and really got a kick when we finally reached the top roof:
Olga at The Oslo Opera House

Showing an American guest around was an attraction to other visitors too of course. They where kind of sceptical and shy at first – but when I told them about this globetrotter, showed her passport and business cards, then more and more people where flocking around her:
Olga at Oslo New Opera House #5

In fact when Tor had some errands, and I still wanted some more pics to be taken, it was easy to find volunteers:
Olga at Oslo New Opera House #6 Olga at Oslo New Opera House #7
Left: Olga exploring. Right: An eager photographer.

So now you’ve seen the ‘Carpet’ (horizontal and sloping surfaces on top), so let’s go inside to see the ‘wave wall’ (seen from the outside at the right picture above):
Olga inside Oslo Opera House

Oak was chosen as the dominating material symbolising the ‘Wave Wall’, which has a complex organic geometry made up of joined cone shapes, it has a light and varied surface.

I do hope you enjoyed this exciting trip as much as Olga did. If so, go visit her and tell her in comments yourself!