Ron Arad Architects won the commission for the architecture of the public spaces in Tel Aviv’s new Opera by limited competition in 1988. The scheme was developed alongside the project of Yacov Rechter, architect of the Opera and Performing Arts Centre, and opened in October 1994. Our strategy to accommodate all the elements of the programme and make the foyer a unique and festive place within the Performing Arts complex was to inhabit it with a series of autonomous structures/buildings, each performing a different function, creating a new spatial quality amongst themselves and with the main building.
Opposite the ‘Island’ at the foyer entrance level a sinuous wall made of bronze rods forms a jewel- like counterpoint to the foyers’ concrete volumes. This wall defi nes a circulation router to the far side of the building and frames a waiting area for latecomers. The bronze wall begins as a screen that wraps a column, folds its section into a bench, then becomes a wall again to make an enclosure for the opera bookshop. This forms a ‘digitalised’ backdrop for the main level latecomers’ area.
Hovering within the foyer spaces and encircled by the foyer floors and slabs is the opera auditorium which was made into a reflective black volume. The shape of this mass is defined by contour lines that make an undulating soffit over the central foyer area. The auditorium’s bulging sides contain the air and sound systems and are slit at regular intervals for mechanical outlets. To keep the auditorium as an autonomous object it only touches the foyer floors at entrance vestibules which bridge a 3 storey void. The soffit is punctured by huge egg shaped holes for lighting and conical recesses containing TV monitors for latecomers.