The Copenhagen Opera House

The Copenhagen Opera House, interior view of lobby with stairs and Olafur Eliasson's chandeliers

The Copenhagen Opera House, interior view of lobby with stairs and Olafur Eliasson's chandeliers


Hans Exner

Hans Exner

Project Director
T: +45 5161 6558

Ramboll was engaged as the consulting engineer on the construction of the Opera House and had engaged Buro Happold (UK) as sub consultant to review Ramboll's superstructures and mechanical and electrical services. The roof was projected in cooperation with Henning Larsen Architects.

Building characteristics

Covering a total area of approximately 40,000 square metres the building comprises:

  • Foyer
  • Auditorium seating for 1,500 spectators
  • Main stage with related fly tower
  • Side and back stages
  • Studio stage and rehearsal rooms
  • Areas with offices and facilities for the performers

The Opera House is located at the Copenhagen harbour front and makes out a fine termination of the city in the so-called Amalienborg axis which runs through Amaliehaven, Amalienborg Castle and Fredrik’s Church.

A prizewinning roof structure

A characteristic feature of the building is the giant flat roof which covers the entire building and continues over the plaza to the harbour front. The cantilevered roof stretches 43 metres over the front plaza and 22 metres over the small stage and roof terrace by the canteen. The deepest part of the substructure is situated 14 metres below the water level of the adjacent harbour and the fly tower reaches a height of 40 metres above ground. Measuring 158 metres x 90 metres, the Opera roof is one of the largest roof constructions in the world.

The Copenhagen Opera won "The 2008 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award" because of the innovative design of the roof, which Ramboll has projected in cooperation with Henning Larsen Architects.

”We were very glad to learn about the award. The Committee that selected the Opera as the winner compliments the design of the roof and the use of bridge construction principles, which provide strength, stability and stiffness to the 43 metre long cantilever from the columns of the foyer to the furthest corner of the roof. Furthermore, the Committee points out that the roof appears slender in spite of being the size of 3 football fields” says Hans Exner, who was project manager of structures for the Opera. “The committee especially points to the fact that the movements of the construction adapts to the in- and outdoor temperature, which is very innovative.”


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