Grieg Quarter Opera and Music Theatre
Proposal for a new cultural scene


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


In collaboration with 3RW arkitekter and COWI, Snøhetta went to the final round in the competition for a new musical theatre in the city of Bergen.

The design proposal is about placemaking and activating the urban area. By placing the 1000 seat main hall below ground, a universally accessible urban plaza is created above, allowing room for people to gather and play, as well as for music and events.

Technical details

Performance Space
Design Proposal
Bergen, Norway

The proposal's name Med en vandlilje, With a waterlily, is taken from a musical piece composed by Edvard Grieg. The vision was to compose a national romantic urban space for the general public where the landscape of Western Norway, the urban square, and the new musical theatre create a unique blue-green Grieg Quarter.

The project is part of a planned new cultural quarter development, with the new concert hall operating alongside the existing Grieghallen. Our project aimed to activate the surrounding urban spaces in the city center with a building consisting of a musical theatre for 1000 spectators, a rehearsal hall with the possibility of 200 seated spectators, as well as an exhibition and support area gathered under an universally designed public space floor.

By placing the main part of the musical theatre under Edvard Grieg's square, the overall volume appears minimal and provides as much as possible of the space floor for the use of the city's citizens. 

The stage tower would appear as a vertical element marking the building in the urban space. Around this, a cantilevered green roof creates spaces for flexible exhibition areas, café's, restaurant and multiuse spaces and creates a 360 degree entrance situation that activates all sides of the city fabric. 

The main hall is placed below the plaza to maximize the amount of public space on ground level.

A cantilevered roof activise all sides of the surrounding area with entrances from all sides.

The building's elements take inspiration from neighbouring Grieghallen.

The roof takes inspiration from nabouring Grieghallen's arcade in height and dimensions and allows all to move sheltered around the building with covered entrances from all sides.

The always open foyer showcases Griegkvartalet's activities, and introduces performances. A new café facing Edvard Griegs plass will activate this with the possibility of sheltered outdoor dining. The form of the project takes inspiration from Grieghallen's straight lines as well as the verticality and articulation of the stage tower. The roof curves take reference from Grieghallen's curved façade in the north-west.

Photo: MIR/Snohetta

Photo: NRML.STUDIO/Snohetta