Copenhagen Opera House

by | 27. Jul 2012

Cultural | Project

Photo: arcspace


Danish shipping magnate Mærsk McKinney Møller personally handed over the new Opera House, his gift to the Danish state, on October 1, 2004. The Opera House, used by the Royal Theater, will host large-scale opera and ballet productions.

The Opera House is situated on Dock Island in Copenhagen Harbor, on axis with Amalienborg, the Royal Residence, as counterpart to Frederik’s Church, forming the termination points of the east-west axis from the harbor and across Amalienborg Square. New 17 meter wide canals have been dug on both sides of the building accentuating the placement of the Opera House on an island.



The front of the house is visually integrated in the harbor space, whereas the back of the building, designed as a lower building block, relates to the buildings in the area and to the new apartment blocks planned on the north and south side of the building.


Photo courtesy HLT



Photo courtesy HLT


The sculptural Auditorium, nicknamed “the Conch”, has the appearance of floating in the Foyer. The exterior walls, covered in a warm ahorn, stand in sharp contrast to the curved glass and steel facade of the Foyer.


Photo courtesy HLT


The main auditorium, with seating in the traditional horseshoe form, seats approximately 1,500. The balconies are are clad in light ahorn, the walls in dark ahorn, the floor are oak.  The decorative bands of lighs on the balconies are designed for acoustical reasons and as a subdued alumination in the auditorium. The 419 square meter ceiling is covered in 24 carat gold leaf.


Photo: Berne Lundkvist



Photo: Berne Lundkvist


In the Danish Royal Orchestra’s rehearsal room, located five floors below the auditorium, artificially lit skylights give the appearance of sunlight entering the space.

The walls and ceiling are covered in wood. The Opera and the Ballet each have two rehearsal rooms, and other smaller rehearsal rooms are available for musicians and the chorus. The side wings of the building house dressing rooms, offices and workshops and, in the basement, scenery storage facilities.


Photo courtesy HLT


From the restaurant and terrace on the top floor there is a 180 degree view of the harbor and the city.


Photo courtesy HLT


Mærsk McKinney Møller commissioned three artists to decorate the building. Three light sculptures by Olafur Eliasson, 2,000 pieces of glass and 300 lamps, hang in the Foyer. The Opera logo and the stage curtain are designed by Per Arnoldi, and four bronze reliefs, mounted, on the Auditorium’s base, by Per Kirkeby.


Drawing courtesy HLT Site Plan


Drawing courtesy HLTPlan


Drawing courtesy HLTSection



Model photo courtesy HLT


CITY Copenhagen
ARCHITECT Henning Larsen Architects
Helle Basse