Snøhetta ©

Snøhetta has been commissioned to design the Shanghai Grand Opera House following an international competition.

The new Opera House is part of an urban masterplan for Shanghai and will offer both traditional and Chinese opera performances, classical concert and more experimental performances.

Snøhetta has developed the architectural, landscape, interior and graphic design for the opera house and the project will be undertaken in partnership with Shanghai-based architects ECADI.


Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta founder, says: “The Shanghai Grand Opera House is a natural progression of our previous work with designing performing arts centres such as the Norwegian National Opera Ballet, the Busan Opera House in South Korea, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Canada, and the Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers renovation in Paris.

“The Shanghai Grand Opera House is a product of our contextual understanding and values, designed to promote public ownership of the building for the people of Shanghai and beyond”.

The new Opera House will be built in the Expo Houtan neighbourhood, near Huangpu River. The layout of the surrounding landscapes harmonises with the overall geometry of the Opera building and its helical roof surface resembles an unfolding fan. The Opera roof will become an accessible stage and meeting place, suitable for both large-scale events and everyday visitors.

At night, exterior lights change the appearance of the stage towers, transforming them into glowing lanterns, illuminating the roof and skyline.

The Opera House is expected to become one of the major cultural landmarks of Shanghai.