Busan Opera Complex
Client: Busan Metropolitan City
Date: 2011 Competition
AZPML: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno, Pep Wennberg, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Ravi Lopes, Taeho Noh, Yeaji Kim
Collaborators: Theatreprojects, AKT II
A Monumental Complex for Busan’s Performing Arts
The new Busan Opera will become a crucial element in the regeneration of the Busan Harbor. The Busan Harbor constitutes the centre of Busan’s urban life and remains an important economic engine. The future Busan Opera sits precisely at the centre of the Old Harbor and is a unique opportunity to construct a platform dedicated to the city’s urban public and cultural life.
The Busan Opera needs to produce a physical presence capable to collect and communicate the city’s cultural legacy in the performing arts. Our proposal is aimed to generate the monumental traits of the project from the technical and functional requirements of the project.
The main trait of the project consists in the use of catenary structures to cover the different volumes in the complex, minimizing the weight and the cost of the structure, and the amount of concrete being used. The catenary structures of the roofs descend from the tall volumes above the flytowers, to the auditoria, to the foyers, producing a cascade of descending concave surfaces that resembles the profile of a magnified surface of the choppy water of the sea, or the fishing nets in the Old Harbor. The ambition is to make the project resonate with the maritime and fishing traditions in Busan.
Siting and Massing Organization
The New Busan Opera has been placed on the south side of the cultural island so the public areas are located towards the island perimeter of the island, looking towards the sea and the city.
There are two bridges that connect the island to the city:
– One at level +4,50 to the north of the theatre which carries vehicular traffic.
– One at level +2,50 to the south of the Opera site which carries pedestrian only traffic.
We have located the back of house facilities towards the vehicular access road and the front of house facilities toward the southern tip of the island, looking towards the sea. The foyer will extend both on ground level + 6,70, and at +2,50 towards the east and the west of the island, with some convention, exhibition facilities and retail that connect to the perimetral public path. A vehicular drop-off/pick-up zone has been placed to the west of the building, for taxis and private vehicles.
The Busan Opera Complex is conceived as world class facility. It includes a 2,200-seat Opera House, a 1,600-seat Flexible Auditorium, a small 300-seat Studio Theatre and a large Recording Studio open to the public. The layout of the rooms aims for maximum compactness and accessibility, enabling the sharing of resources across the different venues. The venues have been fitted next to each other along their shortest dimension, except the small theatre, which sits atop the small theatre box. This concentrates both the public areas and the services, intensifying the public experience and optimizing the sharing of facilities.
All the public spaces on the south side at level +6,70 AOD, extending along the east and west faces. In between both, the scenic facilities have been located in close proximity to each other to minimize displacement within the building and achieve the maximum compactness. All the stages share the same level +5,5m AOD (1m above vehicular access).
The convention, exhibition and retail areas extend from the public space on the south side, surrounding the venues along the east and west sides at level +6,70 to produce active frontages around the blank boxes. The retail areas have been moved to the level of the perimetral path around the island at level +2,50 to connect to the leisure circuit linking the Opera building with the Aquatic Cultural Complex buildings in the island.
The service access will occur on the north side at level +4,50, where the vehicular road accesses the island. The public areas of the building are therefore located primarily on the edge of the water, which is the primary connection with the Cultural Centre north of this the Opera Complex. The foyer is organized on different levels, so the public path to the different levels of the venues is always visible.
Our proposal is to include in our complex a combination of venues that will provide the maximum flexibility to the institution to host a wide range of scenographic possibilities.
– A 2,200-seat state of the art Opera House. Based on the traditional Lyric Theatre type. It is provided with a Wagon-type stage in a cruciform plan with one full and one half side stage, a rear stage and the main stage, all separated by large acoustics shutters.
The large proscenium will seamlessly link the stage to the auditorium. A large orchestra pit would accommodate up to 110 musicians for Western operas. The forestage would allow more intimate and contemporary Eastern performances to enjoy the more intimate and traditional relationship with the ‘outdoor’ audience.
The full-size rehearsal room, situated on the north-east corner of the stage will be made accessible from the public foyer through a corridor that will allow the public to access rehearsals if desired, or to use it as a small Studio Theatre.
– A 1,600-seat Flexible Theatre, which will allow the staging of a wide variety of events, with lateral and central stage. The Adaptable Theatre is designed for avant-garde and experimental theatre performances and will require a considerable degree of flexibility. It is designed as a simple, large, single room allowing for a traditional end stage or an open stage with a traditional flytower.
Elevators in the auditorium floor will allow the quick creation of fashion catwalks and thrust stages using the geometry of seating units. The seating units can be stored below the auditorium creating a complete flat floor space for banquet or exhibition. The towers would move on air-castor technology for maximum flexibility, combined with wagons with fixed seating providing opportunities for experimental and traditional theatre.
– A 300-seat Studio Theater, The Studio Theatre is designed as a simple rectangular room with short galleries at the sides. Like the other performance spaces it inhabits the performance box with access to the upper balcony from within the box. The room is divided vertically with 2 galleries; the first with audience access and the second for flexible theatre installations. The conventional ceiling is replaced with a grid of access bridges for production lighting, sound and rigging.Central seating is made of part retractable and part removable chairs on platforms allowing the front portion to be removed and the stage extended for smaller audience or larger performance.
– A Recording Studio accessible to the public for TV shows and media-driven events. We have allowed for an 800m2 media/recording facility which can be used for in-house productions, or rented out as a recording facility/post-production studio to a variety of clients. It will have public access from the foyer, and also a connection to the back of house, and particularly to the Orchestra and Ballet Rehearsal Rooms at the 4th It will have sufficient space for 2-3 studios and supporting areas.
Environmental Control and Sustainability. Response to Climatic Conditions
The climate of Busan is cold in winter and hot in summer, with full four seasons. Managing comfort conditions is paramount for internal spaces and is equally important in the public realm. Creating an intdoor environment with a large external shell presents an exciting opportunity to utilise the energy output of buildings as microclimate moderators. During the cooling seasons, the external shell can be designed to help retain some heat and reduce site wide energy consumption by using heavy mass construction as an energy accumulator. The thermal and solar performance of the external shell needs to be optimized to minimise heat gain and to control glare.