Ian Ritchie Architects

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Cardiff Bay Opera House

Cardiff Bay Opera HouseThe pre-concept is inspired by the ‘Welsh voice’, intonation, ripple and reflection. This suggests circles – oral tradition, musical notes, and finds a reference in the form of Cardiff Bay.  This has been symbolically and spatially interpreted into an architectural concept of two spheres, developed from ‘ad quadratum’ theatre geometry, and a line defining the actor/audience interface – the ‘slate’ wall.

These key architectural elements are ‘floated’ above the ground plane which is given over to public arrival, commercial and entertainment spaces up to the rear ‘service’ wall.  This creates a covered public environment as an extension of, and complementary to the land-waterscape Opera Piazza. The raised ‘slate’ wall alludes to the rising curtain, half revealing, half concealing the various layers the public will pass through.

The sculptural composition consists of horizontal and vertical landscape planes, against which curved lines and forms are intriguingly revealed, seen both from afar on the skyline and also on approach and within the scheme.  The landscape colour palette is composed of the intrinsic colours found in different slates available internationally – grey/green and green/blue primarily for the vertical surfaces, shades of red and off-white for the floor planes, while the spherical steel surface of the auditorium is a variable burnished deep blue and the back-stage spherical surface is a pale silver-white.

Journal Articles
05/1995 FX

Cardiff Bay Opera House

Cardiff, Wales, UK

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