Royal Opera House Muscat

Project Objectives


The objectives for this project were to design and coordinate construction of a magnificent opera house and concert theatre. The project also included formal gardens, a cultural souk, and an arts center. In the end, this exceptional, 1,000-seat upscale venue would be the anchor in a new urban district and would be used for operatic, musical, and theatrical productions.

Client


The Royal Family of Oman.


Challenges


The Opera House was to be a very complex and ornate building, influenced by the majestic style of Omani palaces, reflecting their design features and circular patterns. Being built for the Royal Family, expectations for quality were extremely high—and it had to be completed within an aggressive timeframe.


*Work completed while Jim Balding was at WATG.

Project Objectives


The objectives for this project were to design and coordinate construction of a magnificent opera house and concert theatre. The project also included formal gardens, a cultural souk, and an arts center. In the end, this exceptional, 1,000-seat upscale venue would be the anchor in a new urban district and would be used for operatic, musical, and theatrical productions.

Client


The Royal Family of Oman.

*Work completed while Jim Balding was at WATG.

The venue needed to incorporate a movable acoustic shell within the stage area to create a variety of acoustic configurations and stage formats to fit the requirements of each type of production. Additional elements included one of the largest pipe organs in the world, a moveable stage and backstage, several tunnels around and underneath the structure, and a private entrance for the royal family.

Because of the complexity of this project, there was no doubt that 3D coordination was vital to its success. At the time, 3D building information modeling (BIM) software tools were in their infancy, but the firm had to take the risk and use the technology because of the intricacy of the design requirements.

Challenges


The Opera House was to be a very complex and ornate building, influenced by the majestic style of Omani palaces, reflecting their design features and circular patterns. Being built for the Royal Family, expectations for quality were extremely high—and it had to be completed within an aggressive timeframe.

The venue needed to incorporate a movable acoustic shell within the stage area to create a variety of acoustic configurations and stage formats to fit the requirements of each type of production. Additional elements included one of the largest pipe organs in the world, a moveable stage and backstage, several tunnels around and underneath the structure, and a private entrance for the royal family.

Because of the complexity of this project, there was no doubt that 3D coordination was vital to its success. At the time, 3D building information modeling (BIM) software tools were in their infancy, but the firm had to take the risk and use the technology because of the intricacy of the design requirements.

Fascinating Fact: The Royal Opera House Muscat became the first opera house in the world equipped with Radio Marconi’s multimedia interactive display seatback system, Mode23.

Solution


The firm chose to use Autodesk® Revit® BIM software for the project, which required a full implementation across a large team. Because Revit was so new—and because the building was so highly specialized and the proportions had to be perfect—the team had to design all of their content themselves, including:

  • Arched and punched openings
  • “Butter cuts” for the building corners
  • Masonry coursing (hatch patterns and model lines to specifically dictate the coursing on the exterior and interior of the building)
  • Bowl for the balcony
  • Floor slab, seating, and highly detailed railings, etc.

Because Revit enabled the team to work in 3D, the model also proved invaluable in coordinating the various tunnels and pits with the stage (which could drop and elevate by several feet). The 3D coordination paid off in that the aesthetics and proportions in massing were correct, which ensured that all of the underground and back-of-the-house elements worked without interfering with the front of the house. With the help of early BIM technology and truly creative and skillful design and construction teams, the Royal Opera House Muscat has become the architectural icon of Oman.

Tools

Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD 3D Max, vRay Rendering, Buzzsaw.

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