Friday, December 5, 2008
The new Oslo Opera House (shown here) was inspired by the image of two glaciers colliding, the architects at Snøhetta didn't call on glaciologists to help fine-tune the details. They enlisted real experts in twisted planes: skateboarders. "We spoke to them about surface textures and the areas they prefer," architect Simon Ewings says. His firm followed up the conversation with a statement in stone.
Snøhetta used different finishes of marble to guide skaters looking for rideable surfaces. Acoustically sensitive parts, like above the auditorium, got rough marble that's unpleasant to wheel over. But other areas silently beckon skaters. Surfaces rise up all over the place to become ledges, curbs, and benches—like the jagged facets of a glacier (or skate park). One particularly tempting spot is a 3-foot-wide railing of smooth stone. Snøhetta architect Peter Dang is, ahem, absolutely sure it's skatable. "Just make sure to fall toward the inside," he advises.
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