A virtual tour of the interior of the newly completed Dubai Opera building was on offer at this year’s Cityscape.
Architects Atkins have developed 3D goggles which allow visitors to the company’s stand to put themselves in the centre of the auditorium.
Spokesperson Ben Thompson said: “It gives people a proper insight into the concert hall’s interior. As well it is a tool for clients. They can see what it is like to stand inside a project they have commissioned and we have designed.”
A detailed scale model of the building was also on show – along with further details of how the area will develop including the construction of two giant towers flanking the arena
During the event the architect who led the Dubai Opera project, Janus Rostock, gave two talks on the building – based around the shape of a dhow – how it was developed and how it integrates into the neighbourhood with views across top the Burj Khalifa and the fountains.
He said: “We have also used very transparent glass and the reason is that people can stand outside and look in during the day which you normally would not be able to do during the day as the glass would be too thick and it is darker inside. But you also want to be able to look outside during the night and see the Burj Khalifa, We have used anti-reflective glass to give the best possible views.
“What will happen is when the audience come to the theatre they will activate the whole neighbourhood. So they are coming to see as performance but they become part of the show themselves
“The lobby is very much a public space which is enclosed by a transparent glass screen, only broken by external horizontal wooden louvers that provide protection from the sun. The lobby and public realm is seen as one – a space where the audience becomes performers.”
Of particular note is Dubai Opera’s ability to transform internally into different modes to host opera, theatre, concert, exhibition, banquet and conference occasions.
This is achieved through a high number of moving floors, walls and ceilings that allow auditorium seating to change configuration, or to disappear altogether, as well as different stage configurations. To deliver this in a seamless fashion, with no compromise– whether in terms of aesthetic quality, comfort or safety – demanded complete collaboration, led by the architectural team but drawing heavily on engineering disciplines according to Atkins.
An additional technical challenge is the fact that, unusually for theatres and opera houses, 100% of the facade is open and accessible for pedestrians, with no back of house.