Shanghai Grand Opera House

Snøhetta designs the Grand Opera House in Shanghai and strengthens the cultural identity of the city

Grand Opera House, Shanghai

A new public space for social and cultural life in Shanghai

Following an international competition, Snøhetta has been commissioned to design the Shanghai Grand Opera House. The building is conceived as a public and open place that harmonizes with the surrounding landscape. The roof is characterized by a spiral staircase that, with its radial movements, reaches the ground. Not only is the roof a transitional element but it also acts as a further stage hosting events and meetings 24/7.

This spiraling movement continues throughout the theater: in the foyer, in the halls and in the three auditoriums – the first with 2,000 seats, with cutting-edge technical and acoustic solutions, the second seating 1,200 people and the third 1,000, offering a flexible seating arrangement for experimental performances.


Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder of Snøhetta, explained that “the Shanghai Grand Opera House is a natural progression of our previous work with designing performing arts centers. It is a culmination of the competence and insight gained through projects such as the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Busan Opera House in South Korea, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Canada, and Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers renovation in Paris.”


For the ongoing project, which will be completed in 2023, the practice teams up with Shanghai-based ECADI – East China Architectural Design & Research Institute.

Discover the special sections Salone del Mobile Milano Shanghai and Design from Japan in DDN #251 – Browse the preview here

Click here to read our interview with architect Weichen Zhong from Shanghai, with whom we discussed the evolution of design in China.


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