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Science of sound

Why noise-absorbing PVC is used in Europe’s newest opera house

More than a million people passed through the magnificent lobby of the new Oslo Opera House in the year after its opening in 2008. Up to 32 metres tall and with 15-metre windows looking out onto the water, the huge foyer greets visitors with a calming stillness, thanks in part to more than 4,000 square metres of sound-absorbing PVC sheets. The low noise level provides a comfortable, relaxing environment next to the auditoriums, in a space featuring oak and simple materials with minimum detail.

The roof of the Operahuset angles down to the ground in a dramatic expression, creating a large plaza which invites pedestrians to enjoy panoramic views of Oslo. Much of the building is covered in white granite and Italian marble, making it appear to rise up out of the water.

Unsurprisingly, the Oslo Opera House won the Culture Award at the World Architecture Festival in 2008, as well as the Mies van der Rohe award (EU prize for contemporary architecture) the following year.

Oslo Opera House 01 Oslo Opera House 02   Oslo Opera House 03

Project: Oslo Opera House, Norway
Architects: Tarald Lundevall for SnØhetta, Norway
Technical info: PVC Roofing & Wallcovering
Picture credits, Courtesy: Carlos Bryant, Celesteh, Claumoho, Moliteau