Ambitious Busan Opera House proposal draws inspiration from Korean stone art


September 19, 2011

Open Suseok resembles an alien spaceship or an enormous pebble perched at the end of the promenade (image by Lacoste Stevenson)

Open Suseok resembles an alien spaceship or an enormous pebble perched at the end of the promenade (image by Lacoste Stevenson)

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This futuristic design by Australian architects Lacoste+Stevenson was submitted for the Busan Opera House competition. The competition invited entries from all over the globe to design a landmark Opera House, which is to be constructed in 2014 with the goal of increasing tourism to the city of Busan, South Korea.

Resembling an enormous pebble perched at the end of the promenade (or an alien spaceship), the design dubbed "Open Suseok" hopes to resonate with the Korean tradition by drawing inspiration from local stone art (or Suseok).

The stage door for artists and staff is hidden through the disguised, lower entrance, whilst the main public entrance opens and lowers down like a giant gangway, giving the arriving spectators an impression of boarding a spacecraft. Inside the building, a grand stairway to the foyer features a soaring void rising 45 meters (148 feet) high. The Opera Theater and multi-function Concert Hall are both positioned above one another, contributing to the height of the foyer whilst also creating space for the outdoor performance area.

The rear facade opens upwards for an amphitheater stage event, featuring an enormous media screen built from thousands of small LED lights. Photovoltaic cells are embedded in the exterior of the structure, generating enough energy to power the media screen, with excess power supplied to the general operation of the opera house.

Five winning Busan Opera House submissions have already been selected by the jury, but the identity of the architects won't be announced until the results of the second stage competition are announced (date to be confirmed).

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Really nice! I would add some pop-up lighting to the sliding door - very Chris Foss =)


I would like to see an opera house built that looks like it was designed to house opera performances, in a cost effective manner.


Clearly the designers have drawn inspiration from Norwegian Architect firm \'Snohetta\' Here\'s the link to the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture.

(the 9/11 memorial is also a Snohetta design).


such is the beauty of using artifacts in the making of architecture. in our studio, v have been doing this since i started teaching in the \'80s. form follows function is definitely out of place for this kind of iconic architecture. the stone is a well know symbol for taoists as well as zen believers. stone spirits r accepted all over east asia and the architect did a good job in such understanding.

Jyanzi Kong

Slowburn: Then you might love the new facility in Hamilton, NZ at Claudelands... a $70M waste of money in that no one in their right minds will ever Want go to It.

On the other hand, I\'m sure the Sydney Opera house has recovered every cent that was spent on it many times over just from people sitting down with a drink or icecream in hand to admire it\'s form.

Great architecture and construction lures people in in so many ways beyond enjoying or enduring the activities it houses.

Robbie Price

Re; Robbie Price

Denver\'s new art museum was designed in the name of Great architecture. It truly makes people physically nauseous. Perhaps I vented a little.


It\'s art. It may never get built. If they imagineers it look like an upside down ice cream Sundae... well,that\'s their idea of art.

Personally, I like it but does opera justify the expense? I think is rich people doing subconscious penance! {^,^}

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