Henning Larsen selected to extend largest opera house in Paris

18 February 2019
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen



Concept for L’Opéra Bastille builds on Carlos Ott’s original design

Henning Larsen, along with collaborators Reichen & Robert, dUCKS, PEUTZ & CET, have been selected for the expansion and transformation of the largest opera house in Paris. French Opéra Bastille are seeking to complete the original vision for the 1989 building, now the main facility for the Paris National Opera. The selected proposal includes a redesigned public foyer open to street-level activity, an 800-seat modular performance and rehearsal space, together with expanded backstage infrastructure and workshops.

Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott designed the original Opéra Bastille, part of France’s Grands Projets initiative to construct new cultural monuments in Paris. Located between the historic Place de la Bastille square and the Viaduc des Arts gardens, the opera is a landmark in the city’s bustling 12th arrondissement. Henning Larsen’s expansion seeks to draw on the vitality of the surrounding area by establishing a dual-level ‘indoor street’ in the foyer. Behind the scenes, the transformation of workshop and construction facilities aims to improve productivity and working conditions for set and costume crews. 

The design follows the original vision of Carlos Ott, with features such as a smooth architectural transition towards the gardens. At the same time, Henning Larsen incorporated the firm’s own signature concepts, including a Scandinavian emphasis on sustainable materials. Søren Øllgaard, Partner and Design Director at Henning Larsen, stated: “Our goal is to fulfil the original vision and potential for the Opéra Bastille in a way that honours and accents the existing architecture. We want to open the opera up to its surroundings in this busy area of Paris, and to make it a local hotspot of urban social life. For us, this is an opportunity to bring new life to a city landmark in a way that blends our own architectural identity with Carlos Ott’s legacy.”

Construction will begin in 2019, with a final project completion scheduled for 2023.  

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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