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Busan Opera House

Busan Opera House

With the design of the Busan Opera, the opera is no longer a passive playground for the elite but becomes interactive, democratic space, responding to the public's ambitions and interests.  Located on reclaimed land on the city's waterfront, the new Opera help will convert the historically industrial area into a public space for Busan.

The form is derived from its own context and culture. The layout refers to Kun (Heaven) meeting Kon (Earth) which again meet Kam (Water). The classical trigrams of these elements describe this site exceptionally well, whilst also referring to the historical and philosophical relationships of great importance to Korean culture. The slight bending of the surfaces in Snøhetta's design are the bars of the trigrams slightly deformed to touch and meet each other in a subtle manner.  





Landscape, Interior, Public Space, Architecture, Performance Space

2012 – expected completion 2023




Busan, South Korea


Performance Space


48 000 m2


Busan Metropolitan City Government

Local Partner

Ilshin Architects

The Opera hall is conceived as a musical instrument, precisely formed to resonate with the operatic acoustics and resonance. As with the foyer wall, the auditorium is to be constructed from solid panels of Cherry wood. 

The Busan Opera House is designed to be as open as possible on the ground level. The foyer space wraps around two sides of the building towards the sea. This level is the location for main front of house foyer, restaurant and public entrance to the Parterre.

The characteristic onramps lead to a second public scape on the rooftop, giving back to the public what the building’s footprint occupies by allowing the vistors to walk on its roof.

Spanning between the two public planes and enveloping the public functions is the soft flowing skin, offering protection and transparency to the foyer within and linking the ground plane to the roof plane in an unbroken movement.