020104015 > |tight fit theatre|Busan’s Cultural centre|The new Busan Opera will become a crucial element in the regeneration of the Busan Harbor. Busan Harbor constitutes the centre of Busan’s life and economy and therefore the redevelopment of the old Harbor is critical to the future of Busan. 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 life and the expression of its public.

The Busan Opera will needs to produce a physical presence capable to collect and communicate the city’s cultural legacy. However, we do not want this monumental concern to overpower the functional and technical aspects of the project. We want the monumental traits to be consistent with the technical and functional requirements of the project. The Busan Opera should be monumental in the original sense of the term: as a material explicitation of a cultural, social, political or economical process. Particularly at the time when the global quest for “iconic” buildings has driven many of these capital projects towards an increasing detachment between the expression of function and the iconic expressions, it is important to pose this question when addressing a public project of this scale. Opera projects have traditionally suffered this division between the object and its “mask”: from the Paris Opera through the Sydney Opera, to Oslo and Guangzhou, we have seen a progressive detachment between the functional and the iconographic envelopes, with the production of very substantial areas of poche space in the projects. Those useless volumes are the register of such detachment.

In our proposal for the future Busan Opera we have aimed to retrieve consistency between the iconographic and the functional by reducing the poche space by adopting a structural solution for the roofs that will be at once functional and expressive: Opera venues have to span large voids in order to host very large audiences. This is usually done by sheer structural depth, but in this case our proposal is to use bi-directional catenary structures that will be able to bridge between the walls than contain the venues with a minimum amount of material working in tension. This textile roofing technology is one that has been used often in large scale temporary structures, such as circus tents and marquees, but it is also a technology that has developed its own lineage within the history of modern architecture: Saarinen’s Yale Ice Rink and Dulles Airport, Tange’s Yoyogi Stadium, Siza’s Portuguese Pavillion in Lisbon are all precedents of this structural strategy. We are joining a lineage of buildings that have used catenary structures to produce large span cover.