Grieg Quarter Opera and Music Theatre

Project information

  1. Location Bergen‚ Norway
  2. Area18.675 m²

Project details

  1. Year2023 — ongoing
  2. StatusUnder development
  3. Partners ALA Architects
    Theatre Projects
  4. Client Grieghallen Utbygging
  5. Enquiries Thomas Lindgård Fagernes
  6. Scope Culture buildings

The new music theatre and concert hall at Edvard Grieg's square in Bergen will become a unique international venue, transforming the Grieg Quarter into a cultural powerhouse and unifying meeting place for opera, theatre, ballet and dance, as well as concerts. The aim of the project is to create an attractive urban space while accommodating a large and intricate programme within a dense footprint close to the iconic Grieg Hall, designed by the Danish architect Knud Munk.

Nordic, in partnership with ALA Architects, Norconsult and Theatre Projects, made it to the final phase of the competition. Our team’s proposal, called “Nina”, distinguishes itself by lowering the entire project by 7.5 meters. This innovative solution ensures that the roof of the hall and stages remains seamlessly integrated with the ground, resulting in an attractive and flexible public space that preserves Knud Munk's original intentions.

It also delivers a beautiful and unique architectural experience, with a series of multi-use outdoor spaces centrally located in Bergen, and an intricately designed entrance pavilion that guides the audience to the cultural experiences situated underground.

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Three buildings will be visible above ground, with the stage tower volume being the largest of these. In the centre of the main square is the circular entrance pavilion inspired by Knud Munk's sketches, featuring a sculptural illuminated wooden staircase leading down to the generous foyer. A smaller pavilion for the logistic of the exhibition hall will be incorporated into the landscaping project as a habitat for butterflies. The stage tower volume offers space for a restaurant with a panoramic view towards Bergen’s iconic Ulriken mountain on the one side and a roof which can be used as a stage and amphitheatre with a view out over the Grieg Quarter’s public square.

Grieg Hall, steeped in the legacy of Edvard Grieg, now embarks on a new chapter with the introduction of a music theatre. To create a captivating interplay, our inspiration draws from Edvard Grieg's most significant collaborator — his wife, Nina. The facade of the stage tower, crafted from softly undulating marble, is a distinctive feature that complements and contrasts with the Grieg Hall's existing character with its tight vertical rhythm of steel. The harmonious blend of historical resonance and contemporary design will elevate the cultural essence of Grieg Hall, creating a seamless dialogue between the past and the future.

From the grand entrance pavilion, visitors step into a shared foyer, seamlessly connecting the music theatre and the exhibition area and at the same time connecting the new building with the existing Grieg Hall. From the ground level of the Grieg Quarter, one can get a glimpse into the exciting realm below. Lighting plays a big role in the overall theatre experience, and changes in light intensity are used to guide the flow of the audience.

Bright materials characterize the music theatre, using a combination of textiles, marble, and painted surfaces on walls and balcony edges. Green is the main accent, following us from the lobby into the hall, where the green colour recurs in seats and back walls. A sculptural funnel-shaped chandelier hangs from the ceiling in the hall.

With the ambition for BREEAM NOR Excellent certification, sustainability is woven into every aspect of the project. The construction site in the city centre is designed to be emissions-free and the buildings are planned to be constructed with low-carbon concrete class A and a high recycling rate for steel. We also chose durable materials for the buildings and existing granite to be reused outdoors.