Busan Opera House


Solus4  proposed a design solution for the Busan Opera House competition that symbolizes the elements of Korean culture and history.
Lead Designer Alfonso Lopez describes the origins of the design: “A very special characteristic of Korean heritage is the linked uniformity of the art, history, culture and language. Much of this is based on the beauty and the pleasure that each element of nature represents to the individual and the community.”
Our team chose to incorporate into the basic building form the elegance of the brush and ink paintings of the Fourth Era of the Joseon Period. In these paintings, the Korean artists chose natural elements according to an aesthetic sensibility. The concept of sohwa is the overlay of several elements of art and culture, as when painting and calligraphy are joined. From these concepts, we developed a simple expression of nature and peaceful elegance.
We were attracted to the free-flowing lines that characterize the paintings of this type as they take on a lyrical, almost musical quality. We took the two dimensional basis and expanded this into the third dimension of building volume without any loss of the original element. This to us was the emerging of the sohwa principle we wanted to express in this building.
Our early concepts were then developed to integrate these shapes and elements into volumes that would not detract from the original intent and yet allow the incorporation of a state-of-the-art vocal performance facility coupled with the various ancillary uses. Staying within the traditional artistic parameters, we first placed the conceptual diagram on the site. Then, we diagrammed the building shapes and the essential volumes.
We used the original ink brush strokes to freely begin building elements. By varying the connections to the earth and varying the edges and heights of roof shapes, we found that we are able to provide strong volumetric edges that reinforce the freedom of the original art. 
It is also important to note the integration of sustainable systems for this project. We introduced sustainable technology to this project including roof-based solar collectors, sea water differential temperature cooling, tidal current generators and geothermal mass storage.
The orchid is classified as one of the “graceful” flowers and represents refinement in Confucian philosophy. As one of the symbols of the four seasons, the orchid represents summer and the dissemination of its fragrance far and wide. The design of the Busan City Opera House symbolizes the hospitality of the peoples who extend the unique flower in greeting. The design solution has its conceptual base in the cultural symbology of Korean history – in this case, most specifically music, vocal performance and art.